Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was shouted down by a large group of demonstrators Tuesday, temporarily preventing him from delivering an address at a "Campaign to Fix the Debt" roundtable in Washington, D.C.
BuzzFeed reports that Portman had prepared a speech about the importance of following Republican-backed plans to reform the tax code in order to bring about a longer-term solution to prevent deficit reduction measures, such as the fiscal cliff, from becoming commonplace. As he stood before the crowd however, four protesters took turns touting the importance of Medicare and Social Security and arguing against steps to slash the programs.
As additional hecklers stood up to tell their stories, authorities reportedly came forward to remove the dissenters from the event, which spurred a mass exodus among demonstrators chanting,"We want to grow, not slow, the economy!"
After they vacated the hall, Portman reportedly resumed his speech. According to BuzzFeed, Portman was later seen meeting with four of the protesters, all Ohio constituents who spoke with the senator for nearly 20 minutes.
The event's host, "The Campaign to Fix the Debt," is a coalition of influential CEOs, politicians and policy makers who are seeking to muster public support for reducing the debt, which they're attempting to do while simultaneously putting Social Security and Medicare cuts at the forefront of deficit reduction negotiations.
The Huffington Post's Paul Blumenthal and Christina Wilkie reported Monday on the "Fix the Debt" group's deep Republican ties, despite its clear attempts to appear fully bipartisan:
But the bipartisanship is only skin deep, according to campaign finance records and non-profit tax filings reviewed by The Huffington Post, which reveal that Fix The Debt's biggest backers and partners are Republicans and Republican-allied.
HuffPost previously reported that members of the campaign's Fiscal Leadership Council currently calling for cuts to Social Security and Medicare have benefited from billions of dollars in war contracts, bailout funds and tax subsidies. But the CEOs haven't just been taking -- they've been giving, too, in the form of political donations to many of the lawmakers who keep the spending spigots turned on.
Of the 86 CEOs on the council, all but 10 donated to political candidates in 2012, for a total of more than $3.2 million through Oct. 17. Of that, 79 percent, or $2.5 million, was donated in support of Republicans, while only 21 percent aided Democrats.
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