CBC Members Threatened for Healthcare Vote
Passing healthcare reform has been a bittersweet victory for Congressional Democrats. On one hand, they’ve helped President Barack Obama honor a campaign promise that’s both historic and the centerpiece of his legislative agenda. But it has come at a significant cost, with lawmakers reporting this week several incidences of threats against their offices, their families, and themselves.
One rancorous message sent to Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia) said, “None of your colored constituents are going to keep you elected because we do not want this socialist Obamacare that is going to help Negroes who will not help themselves,” he reported. Another referred to him as nigger three times.
On Wednesday, the FBI notified Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) that it had “collected” and investigated a call made by a local white businessman threatening to kill him if he voted for the healthcare bill. It concluded the man didn’t intend to carry out the threat.
In addition, Cleaver said, his Tea Party opponent has sent e-mails to protestors encouraging them to show up at his town hall meeting on Saturday. In response, the security team Cleaver had when Kansas City mayor will be at his side, as well as undercover police and an FBI detail.
While Democratic and Republican leadership sparred over who was to blame for the breakdown in civility inside and outside the House, black lawmakers expressed concern over the racial tone some protestors have taking, recalling for them the violence they experienced during their fight for civil rights.
“What I saw over the weekend was a different class of folk who basically used code words that I hadn’t heard in a long time, such as ‘I want my country back.’ I saw Hispanic lawmakers being told to go back where they came from,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) recalled. “Clearly there’s this racial undertone and GOP leadership has done a very poor job reigning them in. [Tea Party members] are some of their core constituents and they’re not going to alienate them just because Democrats feel threatened.”