Washington Report

Updates from Capitol Hill

Conservatives Protest Healthcare Reform at Capitol Hill Rally

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Protestors gathered outside the Capitol building to voice opposition to "socialized medicine" or “Pelosicare.”

As House Democratic leaders negotiated the final sticking points in the healthcare bill that will go to the floor for a vote on Saturday, thousands of conservative protestors staged a rebellion on Thursday afternoon against what they’re calling socialized medicine or “Pelosicare.” It was one of several last-ditch efforts to derail the legislation that included visits to individual members and a 12-hour, online town hall meeting called “Pelosi Plan Exposed.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), who organized the “Hands Off Our Healthcare” rally, explained to the crowd gathered on the West Front of the Capitol that the Republicans don’t have the necessary votes to kill the healthcare bill.    “We knew that we were limited, but what we knew was unlimited was the voice of persuasion of the American people and that’s why you’re here today, with your voice of persuasion,” she said.

The protestors were more than happy to oblige. Many of the demonstrators were Tea Party activists who protested President Barack Obama’s tax policies in April and healthcare reform at nationwide rallies during the congressional August recess. Channeling the fervent pitch of those previous demonstrations, they waved signs with slogans such as “Just Say Nobama,” “Politicians Lie, Patients Die” and “Clean House 2010,” while chanting “Kill the bill!”

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said that the bill is “the greatest threat to freedom” that he’s seen during his 19 years in Washington, warning the crowd that the bill voted on this weekend will take away their freedom to choose doctors or buy their own coverage.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Ohio pledged that the bill would not get one Republican vote. And, he added, “We’re going to try to pick up as many common-sense Democrats as we can.”

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