Rep. Moran 'looking forward' to town hall protesters

Liberal Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is “looking forward” to taking on a possibly raucous crowd against healthcare reform when he holds a town hall later this month.

The lawmaker’s “suspicions are up” after learning that his district office has fielded “any number of calls … [from] people who didn’t want to give their names and addresses” yet asked for the time and location of his town hall.

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Over the past few days, Democratic lawmakers holding public town hall meetings in their districts to discuss the healthcare reform bill have been bombarded by anti-overhaul protesters.

“I’m looking forward to it, personally,” Moran said on Thursday at a press conference to unveil a report on the disparity in cost for women’s healthcare insurance.

Moran contended that the protesters had little credibility in that “they are being financed by the industry that makes billions of dollars off the current system so that they can pay millions of dollars to lobbyists so those lobbyists can generate a handful of people who will do their bidding out of ignorance, anger or whatever.”

His colleague, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), said that though she respects free speech, the disruptions defeat the purpose of the town hall meetings.

When asked whether she would include healthcare reform in her possible bid for Senate, the Manhattan lawmaker wouldn’t answer whether, in fact, she was going to toss her hat into the ring.

“Let’s just focus on passing this important bill, and this is something that has been a Democratic priority since 30 years ago, when I worked for the New York State Senate in New York,” she said.