- Associated Press - Saturday, March 18, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Like their Republican colleagues across the country, Nebraska’s congressional delegation members are facing boisterous crowds at town hall meetings demanding answers on everything from health care to a slew of President Donald Trump’s actions since taking office in January.

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse got a dose at meetings in Omaha and Aurora on Friday. Despite the early hour of his first appearance at 8 a.m. in a west Omaha high school, about 500 people showed up to pepper him with questions and concerns. Most dealt with the GOP health care reform plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act enacted under former President Barack Obama.

When one woman expressed concerns about in-home health care for the elderly in rural areas, Sasse replied that neither the current law nor the Republican replacement plan would do enough for those populations, drawing boos and shouts. Sasse several times patiently asked the crowd not to yell over him as he tried to answer concerns.

A day earlier, U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer faced similar crowds in Holdrege and Kearney, enduring heckling over the planned health care reform. She also drew criticism from several teachers and school administrators for her vote to confirm Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a longtime advocate of charter and private schools. Teachers unions fiercely opposed DeVos’ nomination, saying that her efforts are tantamount to defunding public education.

A town hall in Lincoln by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry on Monday drew more than 1,000 people. Newly elected Rep. Don Bacon, who represents the Omaha area, initially avoided holding a town hall, resorting instead to a phone-in constituent conference earlier this month to dodge raucous crowds. He soon changed his mind, vowing to eventually hold in-person town halls in his district.

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