Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R) was one of a handful of Washington, D.C lawmakers and policy experts invited to participate in a panel discussion on the fiscal cliff on Tuesday morning, but his prepared remarks were temporarily derailed by about a dozen protestors who stood up, one at a time, to confront Portman over his support for the Republican plan to cut billions from social programs and entitlements that millions of low-income and middle class Americans rely on.
For five minutes, individuals scattered throughout the audience interrupted Portman to ask him not to cut programs like Medicare and Social Security or spending on teachers and other public employees. Several of them identified themselves as his constituents, to which Portman responded by promising them an audience following his remarks. The confrontations, though coordinated, harkened back to last spring, when Republicans returned home to their districts only to find themselves face to face with angry voters who voiced their displeasure at the Republicans’ budget plan of deep cuts and no increases in revenue.
Portman was invited to speak by a group calling itself “Fix The Debt,” a collection of corporate CEOs who are advocating cuts to entitlement programs while simultaneously pushing for more than $100 billion in tax breaks for themselves and their companies.
Watch the protests:
Things only got more tense once the protestors were escorted from the room. The cameraman captured Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow from the Heritage Foundation, shouting angrily at the crowd, and it appears that another individual tried to grab the camera before the footage cuts off.