Tea Party Activists Mount Final Push Against Health Care Bill
Tea Partiers came in droves to Capitol Hill from across the country in a last ditch effort to shift the votes of several key Democrats on President Barack Obama's national health care reform proposal.
The lobbying blitz was organized by Washington, DC group FreedomWorks. A 10 AM rally, held at Taft Park between the Capitol Building and the offices of the House of Representatives, was organized by the Tea Party Express group, and featured several Republican members, including Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
Outrage Over Slaughter Strategy
Attendees expressed particular frustration with the news that the House is considering a method of passing the health care bill, dubbed the "Slaughter strategy" after Rules Chair Louise Slaughter (D-NY), which would "deem" the Senate bill as having passed without a straight up-or-down vote.
"I just don't think they care about the Constitution any more," said one attendee from Maryland who held a small pamphlet copy of the Constitution in her hand. Organizers said several hundred of the tea partiers came from Pennsylvania and Michigan, states with members viewed as key swing votes on the legislation.
"Stand strong, do your job and we will win by Sunday," Rep. Bachmann told activists, urging them to make themselves heard.
Democrat Leadership Warns Offices
An email from a staffer in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) office warned Democratic Congressional offices of the coming protesters, including a checklist on how to deal with them.
"As many of you have read, tomorrow, Tuesday, March 16, 2010, tens of thousands of conservative and Tea Party activists will be on the Hill as part of what they are dubbing a 'Surge Against Obamacare'...Many of the conservative activists are not opposing the actual provisions in the bill, but are instead reacting to a caricature of the reform bill presented by right-wing media outlets," staffer Doug Thornell wrote.
Activists fanned out to the offices of their congressmen, and plan to be lobbying members throughout the day as the final vote on health care approaches.