After all the fiery rhetoric, can this be a surprise..
And for what?? For ensuring (near) universal health coverage that basically ALL developed economies enjoy. If many poorer nations can afford it, than so can the US…
Democrats face death threats and vandalism over healthcare reform bill
Daniel Nasaw. The Guardian.
Bricks thrown amid calls to violence on web forum as Senate wrangling continues
Leading Democrats moved today to condemn acts of vandalism and death threats against legislators after several members of Congress were targeted by angry opponents of the healthcare reform measure.
The FBI was called in to help handle a torrent of abuse, from bricks through congressional office windows to sinister, obscene phone messages. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said the threats had “no place in a civil debate in our country”.
The House Democratic leader, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said that at least 10 House members were concerned for their personal safety, and a number reported their offices had been vandalised.
In one incident, authorities in Virginia are investigating a severed propane gas line at the home of the brother of a Democrat who supported the overhaul measure. An activist with the “tea party” movement had posted the brother’s address on an internet forum, apparently thinking it was the congressman’s, and urged angry opponents to pay him a visit. A New York Democrat reported a brick was thrown through a window at her office, and a glass front door was smashed at the office of an Arizona Democrat.
One caller to the office of Bart Stupak, a Democrat who voted for the legislation, said: “I hope you bleed … [get] cancer and die.” A fax to his office carried a picture of a gallows with “Bart (SS) Stupak” on it and a noose attached.
Representative James Clyburn, the highest ranking black lawmaker, said he received a fax with an image of a noose. Others received threatening phone calls.
Representative Phil Hare, an Illinois Democrat, told the Politico news website that several Democrats had told their spouses to move out of their constituencies while the legislators are in Washington.
“If this doesn’t get under control in short time, heaven forbid, someone will get hurt,” Hare told the paper.
The Republican House leader, John Boehner, has spoken out against the violence, but Democrats have criticised Republicans for not forcefully condemning the violence and threats and for encouraging raucous demonstrations.
“There are a lot of angry Americans and they are angry over this healthcare bill,” he said Wednesday on Fox News. “They are angry about the fact that the Democrats here in Washington aren’t listening to them.
“But I’ve got to tell you that violence and threats are unacceptable… Let’s take that anger, and go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign.”
President Barack Obama signed the measure into law this week after a year of intense battle on Capitol Hill and furious protest by conservative opponents. As the House prepared for a final vote over the weekend, several African-American lawmakers were subject to racial epithets from angry protestors surrounding the Capitol building, with one reporting he was spat upon.
Although healthcare reform is now law, the political wrangling continued in the Senate, which is taking up a package of modest fixes to the initial bill.
Senate Democrats this morning were fending off dozens of Republican efforts to amend the bill, moves which if successful would trigger a new round of debate in the House. Voting began about 5.30pm Wednesday and continued until well after midnight.
The Senate resumed today and by midday had held nearly 40 votes. Democratic leaders say the votes are a frivolous attempt to delay or kill the bill.
Meanwhile, Republicans won a minor victory that will force another vote in each chamber, with a parliamentary ruling that certain parts of the fixes bill must be struck because they do not have the required effect on the US budget.
The Senate is expected to approve the bill this afternoon, and the House will take it up soon after.