WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) — Thousands of demonstrators in Washington, led by dozens of congressional Republicans, protested proposed healthcare reform legislation.
The demonstration at the U.S. Capitol followed a call by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for opponents of reform to take their complaints to Congress, and to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in particular. Bachmann billed the event as a “Health Care House Call.”
“Speaker Pelosi is poised with her healthcare bill to take over 18 percent of the American economy,” Bachmann said as chants of “Kill the bill” rang through the crowd.
“The Republicans don’t have the votes to kill this bill,” she said, “but what we knew was unlimited was the voice of persuasion of the American people.”
Speaking on a conference call Wednesday with members of the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, Bachmann said bloggers and activists could thwart the bill’s passage, Politico reported.
“Nothing scares members of Congress more than freedom-loving Americans,” Bachmann said.
Many House Democrats favor inclusion of a public, or government-run, healthcare option in reform legislation, one of several reform proposals that have sparked anger among conservatives.
The American Medical Association and AARP Thursday announced their endorsement of the bill, which could come up for a vote Saturday in the House.
“We are closer to passing this reform than ever before,” President Barack Obama said in response to the AMA and AARP endorsements.
The protest in Washington Thursday featured appearances by actor Jon Voight and talk show host Mark Levin. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the reform bill “the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen in the 19 years that I’ve been here in Washington.”
Several protesters were arrested, including nine who refused to leave an office in the Capitol.
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