Rep. Andy Harris, who has been under pressure from constituents concerned about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, said Thursday he will hold a town hall meeting with voters at the end of March.
Harris has come under fire from some constituents for holding tele-town halls instead of an in-person meeting as Republicans across the country have faced pointed questions about the Obamacare repeal at similar gatherings. Earlier this month, Harris said he would hold an in-person meeting once Republicans unveiled a replacement plan.
In a statement Thursday, Harris said he plans to hold a "brick-and-mortar" town hall in Easton on March 31 because, he said, a replacement "should be available by the end of March." Republican leaders have presented an outline of a plan, but it's not clear they are close to a bill that it could pass their chamber, let alone the Senate.
Former House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday predicted a full repeal of Obamacare wouldn't happen, calling it "happy talk."
Harris' announcement said the time and location of the in-person meeting had not yet been set.
Harris, who repeatedly discussed his opposition to the health care law in four elections in the heavily-Republican 1st Congressional District. also announced two more tele-town halls. The first will take place on Monday at 5:30 p.m. and a second will occur Tuesday before President Trump addresses a joint session of Congress.
The announcement did not provide dial-in information for those meetings.
"It's important to me that we have the proposed plan details in hand to share with attendees of the brick-and-mortar town hall so that I can answer their specific questions at the town hall, rather than offer only speculation, which is all we have at this time,” Harris said in a statement.
The announcement Thursday came days after more than 200 people attended a town hall-style meeting at Harford Community College to discuss the health law. That meeting was organized Citizens for Health Care, a Harford County group that has been pressuring Harris for a meeting.
Emily Jackson, who helped found the Maryland group Citizens For Health Care, said that while she is pleased Harris has scheduled a meeting she believes it "will be coming too late."
"I do not see the purpose of a discussion after the legislation has been created," Jackson said. "What is the point of this meeting? To explain what's in the proposed legislation? I can read and understand that myself. What Dr. Harris has failed to respond to, what we are asking him for, is face time to share our thoughts, questions, and concerns."
Harris, an anesthesiologist, has hosted both tele-town halls and in-person meetings in the past. Aides said he has held more than 60 brick-and-mortar town halls and dozens of tele-town halls since 2011.