Rep. Bachmann’s Call to Grass-Roots Conservatives Fires Up Republican Lawmakers, Too
November 6, 2009 - 12:46 PMThousands of grass-roots conservatives streamed to Capitol Hill Thursday, heeding a call to action from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who decided that speaking out was better than staying silent about the Democrats' health care bill.
A steady stream of protestors toting signs reading “Kill the Bill,” “Free Healthcare Isn’t Free” and “No Obama Care” gathered at the West Front of the Capitol for the noontime “House Call” event.
As the crowd swelled, so did the ranks of Republican lawmakers, many of whom ended up joining Bachmann on the stage.
Bachmann announced plans for the rally – which she called a “news conference” – on Friday, Oct. 30. She told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity that the fight against the Democrats’ health care agenda was a pivotal moment in American history.
“That's why this is such an exciting opportunity for us,” Bachmann told Hannity. “This is about patriotism and manning up,” Bachmann said. “And if we can get Americans, literally by the busload, to come to Washington, D.C. next week, look their member of Congress in the eye, pay a house call on Congress and say, ‘Don't you dare take away my health care,’ cradle to grave. We'll stop this.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner on Thursday recalled the Sept. 12 “Tea Party” rally when hundreds of thousands of Americans rallied against the Obama administration’s fiscal policies, including the Democrats’ proposed health care bill.
“I'm going to stand with you and all freedom-loving Americans against this bill,” Boehner said, holding up the Constitution as he quoted from the Declaration of Independence.
“And I'm going to stand here with our Founding Fathers, who wrote in the Preamble: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) promised the crowd that “not one Republican” would vote for HR 3962 that was crafted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats behind closed doors. The bill may come to a vote as early as Saturday, if Democrats can get the 218 votes they need from members of their own party.
“As the Republican whip, I want to let you know that I have reached out to every Republican member of Congress in this House,” Cantor said. “And let me assure you, your efforts to stop this bill are being heard loud and clear.
“And I will guarantee you that we are committed to making sure that not one Republican will vote for this bill, Cantor said. “And with your help, we are going to try and pick up as many common-sense Democrats who will join with us, to stop this trillion-dollar takeover of our health care in this country.”
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, recalled President Ronald Reagan’s stand on limited government.
“Twenty-eight years ago, on these historic steps, President Ronald Reagan said, we are a nation that has a government, not the other way around,” Pence said. “Now comes the Pelosi plan for a government takeover of health care. It's a freight train of runaway spending, bloated bureaucracy mandates and higher taxes, and it must be opposed.
“House Republicans are here to deliver a simple message to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and to the American people,” Pence said. “Madame Speaker, we the people are tired of runaway federal spending in Washington, D.C. And we the people want health-care reform that lowers the cost of health insurance, not grows the size of government.
“And to our fellow citizens I say -- those gathered and those looking on -- if you cherish freedom, if you fear the crushing weight of big government, and if you still believe that the strength of this nation is in the character and the courage and the ingenuity of the American people, this is your moment.
“Now is the time,” Pence said. “Let your voice be heard.”