GOP Congressmen to Hold ‘News Conference’ Referendum on Democrats' Health Care Bill

November 4, 2009 - 11:25 PM
Thousands of Americans are invited to come to Capitol Hill Thursday to  "discuss" health care with their members of Congress.

A man holds a sign as President Obama's motorcade heads to a town hall on health care reform, Wednesday, July 29, 2009, near a supermarket in Bristol, Va. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

( - House Republicans have invited the public to show up at a "news conference" they are holding on the West front of the U.S. Capitol building at noon on Thursday -- a week after Democrats unveiled their health care bill.

"The purpose of the event is to let the American people tell us what they think of the product that has been produced and to let us see, by the numbers of people who show up, what the intensity level is,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) told  

“A week ago, Speaker Pelosi stood on the steps of the Capitol and unveiled this 2,000-page product and that was kind of a closed event,” Burgess said. "We thought, ‘Why don’t we have a press conference where we open it up to the people and let them come tell us what they think about that (bill).'” 

The event is officially billed as a press conference, not a rally, Burgess said. "A number of people” have pledged to come to the event – including conservative talk-radio host Mark Levin. Some may even decide to visit their congressman’s office to lobby.

“There are limits to what we can actually ask people to do,” the conservative Texas congressman said. “But we’ve invited the public in – think of it as a large town hall meeting – to attend our press conference.
“We have no idea how many people will show up, but the official event will go on for an hour-and-a-half or two hours. After that, if somebody wants to make good use of their time, that’s always a good thing.”

The “press conference” is not connected to the rollout of House Minority Leader John Boehner’s alternative health-care plan, Burgess said.