(CNSNews.com) – As House Democrats scrambled Thursday to find enough votes to pass their health care bill, thousands of conservatives marched on Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers to kill it.
“Kill the bill,” protesters chanted as they surrounded the U.S. Capitol. The size of the ‘House Call’ rally took many people by surprise, since the event was called with such short notice.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) urged like-minded conservatives to converge on the Capitol during an appearance on Fox’s “Hannity” show last Friday. At the “house Call’ event yesterday, Bachmann said Republicans knew their options to block the Democrats’ health care bill is limited – “but what we knew was unlimited was the voice of persuasion of the American people.”
On Thursday, Bachman thanked the enthusiastic crowd for turning out in such numbers: “Hi, everyone, you came – and you came to your house. You came for an emergency house call. And are they (Democrats) going to listen? Oh yeah, oh yeah, they’re going to listen…”
Rep. Steve King of Iowa, one of the Republicans who spoke at the rally, hailed the “organic outpouring in support of liberty and freedom.” He said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow liberal Democrats cannot ignore what happened Thursday in Washington.
“The American people do not support a bill that puts bureaucrats between patients and doctors, funds abortion with taxpayer dollars, funds illegal aliens, raises taxes on small business owners and makes millions of Americans reliant on the government for health services that should be personal and private,” King told the crowd. “The damage this bill will do is irreversible, and we must do all we can to kill it.”
Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) also spoke to the crowd on the west front steps of the Capitol: “The American people are voicing their concerns with the health care legislation and they have every right to be concerned. The Pelosi Health Care Bill is full of bad policy, higher taxes, more mandates and penalties and more government intrusion. I am proud to stand with my colleagues and show support for solutions to health care reform that don’t come on the backs of small businesses and senior citizens.
“We all want and deserve access to quality and affordable health care,” Boozman continued. “We can cut costs by allowing families and businesses to buy health insurance across state lines; allowing small businesses to pool together to buy health insurance at lower prices; and ending lawsuits that contribute to escalating costs because of doctors being forced to practice defensive medicine,” Boozman said.
The Democratic National Committee issued a statement saying if Republicans want to make Michele Bachmann the voice of their party – and if Republicans will allow themselves to be “led around by the nose” by the likes of Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin -- that’s fine with the DNC:
“It's their extreme right-wing, rigid ideological agenda that has Americans leaving the Republican Party in droves - and so, if displays like today are what they think is a smart political strategy, all we can say is: go for it," said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said anyone watching the conservative protest “is struck by the fact that there’s a rally going on without a solution on their side.” In fact, Republicans do have solutions and have produced a number of their own alternative health care plans, most recently this week.
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) has warned that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 1,990-page “costly government takeover of health care” will increase premiums, raise taxes, and cut Medicare benefits for seniors.
Boehner says House Republicans have “better solutions” in their alternative bill, which runs only 219 pages.
As CNSNews.com has reported, the Republican plan, which Boehner calls the Common Sense Health Care Reform and Affordability Act, would allocate $15 billion for states to build Universal Access Programs -- high-risk pools to guarantee access to health care coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
It also would reform medical malpractice law by capping non-economic jury awards at $250,000; open up competition among insurers across state lines; eliminate lifetime or annual spending caps now used by insurers; and allow dependents to stay on their family’s insurance plans until at least age 25. (See earlier story)
The House is expected to vote on the Democrats’ health care bill on Saturday, and not a single Republican is expected to vote for it.