As outlined in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, the members of the House of Representatives are elected every two years. The reason for this was to guarantee the House members would be responsive to their constituents. Delegates at the constitutional convention felt that a two-year term of office would give new House members the opportunity to learn their job, while at the same time keep them dependent upon and therefore responsive to the wishes of the people. In a young nation where the town meeting was a common part of the governmental process, the House of Representatives was generally viewed as a natural extension of the town hall meeting… direct participation by the citizens themselves.
Congressman Eric Massa (D- NY) is not a big fan of the “founders” and their reason for setting up the House. This weekend he spoke to a group at the Netroots convention and said he knows that his constituents are against the public option, and the single payer system, but he is going to vote for it despite his constituents objections. He just doesn’t care what the public thinks, he will vote against the interests of his district:
Representative Eric Massa (D- NY) addressed an intimate group of Netroots activists during their annual Netroots Nation gathering in Pittsburgh this weekend. Mr. Massa reiterated his support for a single payer health care bill. He discussed the risks he takes for wanting to support such a measure in his “right wing Republican district.”
According to Swing State Project, Mr. Massa won his 2008 race by two percentage points. The district’s voting pattern index (PVI) is a Republican +5 seat. The National Republican Congressional Committee has the upstate New York congressman in their sights for 2010 along with 69 other House Democrats as reported by Politico. The transcript is below, and check out the corresponding video above.
MASSA: I’m not going to vote for 3200 as it’s currently written. Step one, I will vote for a single payer option or a bill that does have a medicare coupled public option, which we don’t have right now. If my town hall meetings turn into the same media frenzies and ridiculousness, because every time that happens we lose. We lose another three million people in America. They see that happening and negate us.
PARTICIPANT: It changes America.
MASSA: Every time that occurs. So what happens in my town hall meetings frankly is important, because I am in one of the most right wing Republican districts in the country, and I’m not asking you guys to go back to wherever and send people to me. This is a generic statement of what can I do? Well that’s one thing we can do.
PARTICIPANT: So if we got your meetings to sixty forty, you’d vote…and there was single payer in a bill you would vote for it?
MASSA: Oh absolutely I would vote for single payer.
PARTICIPANT: If there was sixty forty sentiment in the room?
MASSA: Listen, I tell every audience I’m in favor of single payer.
PARTICIPANT: If there was eighty twenty in the room?
MASSA: If there was a single payer bill?
PARTICIPANT: And there was a single payer….
MASSA: I will vote for the single payer bill.
PARTICIPANT: Even if it meant you were being voted out of office?
MASSA: I will vote adamantly against the interests of my district if I actually think what I am doing is going to be helpful.
(inaudible participants’ comments regarding the “interests” of the district statement from Mr. Massa)
Massa: I will vote against their opinion if I actually believe it will help them.