By Anita Crane and Chelsea Schilling
(photo: Americans For Prosperity)
WASHINGTON – A crowd of at least 10,000 descended on the Capitol today to protest the trillion-dollar health-care bill and storm the halls of congressional office buildings.
With less than a week’s notice to prepare for the event, the throng steadily grew as buses unloaded for an “Emergency House Call on Congress” to stop the House from passing the bill.
A group of legislators led by Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., hosted the emergency town-hall meeting to protest the House Democrats’ nearly 2,000-page bill, which is projected to cost at least $1.1 trillion.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said he expects the House take the final version to the floor on Saturday.
But thousands of enthusiastic Americans packed the Capitol grounds, chanting loudly: “Hands off our health care,” and “You work for us!” They called, “Nancy Nancy,” urging the House speaker to emerge from the Capitol.
The following is a video of ralliers shouting, “Kill the bill!”
Family drove from Pennsylvania to attend today’s rally (WND photo / Anita Crane)
Many attendees wore patriotic clothing, waved U.S. and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and carried signs that read, “You lie,” “No socialistic health care” and “Politicians lie, patients die.” Others came straight from work, wearing business suits.
The ralliers arrived as early as 8:30 a.m., coming by bus, car and plane from from all across the country, including states such as California, Oregon, Washington, Ohio, Iowa, New Jersey, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky and Texas.
Patsy Bailey, a protester at the rally from Durwood, Md., told WND she believes lawmakers should be subject to their own health-care plan.
“Nobody knows what’s in the bill,” she said. “Are they going to sign up for this?”
Carolyn Bowman of Germantown, Md., had her own message for Congress: “I’m totally against government controlling our health care. Stay out of our lives!”
Chiropractor Andy Daniele of Farmington, N.J., and friend Kevin Stafford of Eatontown drove to the Capitol wearing T-shirts that read, “Liberty equals limited government” and “VA! NJ! DC next!”
Chiropractor Andy Daniele of Farmington, N.J., and friend Kevin Stafford of Eatontown (WND photo / Anita Crane)
“I just came hoping they don’t mess things up too much,” Daniele said. “I’m looking to see how long it would take for Sarah Palin to fix this mess.”
Stafford brought his 6-year-old son to the rally.
“I’m here to protest the loss of the land of opportunity for my son,” he said.
Daniele and Stafford would like to see Palin and Bachmann to run for president in 2012. They said they don’t care who heads up the ticket, they just want the two women in charge.
Cal and Frank Pasqua drove to Washington from Brooklyn, N.Y., with the rest of their family. Cal, a musician who travels the world, played “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes.
“We’re here mainly protesting the amount of spending that this government is doing around the world,” he said. “We’re highly against any unconstitutional wars. And, unfortunately, through the Federal Reserve system, we have a system that is printing money out of thin air.”
Cal continued, “It just seems to be a non-stop cycle of spending – even funding this bill today – there’s no money. I think this is just a distraction from something bigger. Of course, we need health care, but this bill isn’t congruent with my friends or my family. The American people don’t believe in this.”
Frank agreed with his brother, saying they both would like to see the end of the Federal Reserve.
Brothers Cal and Frank Pasqua would like an audit of the Fed (WND photo / Anita Crane)
David Medley came from Louisville, Ky., with his friend, Robin Becker. Medley said he’s totally against the health bill and government-run health care.
“But the main thing is abortion funding,” he said. “I’m doing this for my kids and grandkids.”
Becker said, “This protest ought to send a message to them. People don’t want this shoved down their throats. Most of the (members of Congress) haven’t even read it. It’s ridiculous.”
Eric Johnson from Richmond, Va., said the issue is bigger than health-care reform.
“Along with standard reasons – like we can’t afford this, and don’t meddle in our lives – the biggest thing is that I know the people messing with this don’t care about health care,” he said. “It’s a power grab, money grab mostly, for the Democratic Party. I’m fed up with the Republicans, too.”
Protester Della Ellar of Richmond, Va., described herself as a proud WND reader. She plans to ask Nancy Pelosi why she won’t accept the same health-care “reform” she is imposing on America.
Hessie Harris of Silver Spring, Md., waves U.S. flags as she fights to “get my country back.” (WND photo / Anita Crane)
Hessie Harris of Silver Spring, Md., accused Congress of trying to “raffle off the country.”
“I’m here to stop the raffle and get my country back,” she said.
Tim Phillips, president of Americans For Prosperity, a group that helped bus 10,000 Americans to the Capitol, said, “Obama, Pelosi and Reid refuse to listen to American taxpayers who have clearly demonstrated through rallies, phone calls and congressional visits that they don’t want to pay for a trillion-dollar, government-defined health-care plan.”
Missy Smith, president of Women Against the Killing and Exploitation of Unprotected Persons, or WAKE UP, told WND she led a sit-in protest outside Pelosi’s Washington office.
“We’re protesting because the bill would provide taxpayer funding of child-killing,” she said. “We will crumple the massive bill one page at a time and leave it tattered on the floor. We are deeply troubled that Nancy Pelosi wants to fund the murder of innocent babies under the guise of health care. She’s a Catholic, and she should know better.”
As a mother who has counseled many others through the injuries and haunting sorrow of abortion, Smith said she was ready to be arrested if that’s what it would take to stop this legislation fraught with danger to women, babies, the disabled and the elderly.
After Smith spoke with WND, the Associated Press reported that a dozen pro-life protesters were arrested at 2:15 p.m. outside Pelosi’s suite with charges ranging from unlawful conduct to disorderly conduct and unlawful entry. According to the report, the people arrested had been criticizing language in the bill because they said it federally subsidizes abortions.
Protester threatens Congress with pink slip (photo: Americans For Prosperity)
According to Politico, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, invited thousands of protesters to enter the House buildings and find their representatives after the rally.
“I invite you, when the rally’s over, to travel in those halls, look at the walls, find your (representative) and walk in,” she said. “Let them know how you feel about this bill.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, held up a copy of the U.S. Constitution, and Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., shouted to Pelosi, “Madam Speaker, throw out this bill.”
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., called the bill a “freight train of government spending.”
Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., said he has no question the massive rally was a worthwhile undertaking.
“The concern, patriotism and focus of the people who are here is sure to have an impact,” he said. “It may not overnight, but it’s definitely making a difference.”
The following is a video of Petri’s comments:
Actor Jon Voight, “Liberty and Tyranny” author Mark Levin and Dr. Betsy McCaughey, former New York lieutenant governor, also spoke at
Voight told the crowd the Obama administration’s “lies and deception are blatant,” Politico reported.
“Maybe it was the 20 years of subconscious programming by Rev. Wright to damn America,” he said.
The crowd cheered wildly for Rep. Bachmann as a protester shouted, “Palin/Bachmann 2012!”
Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks with copy of nearly 2,000-page health bill resting on podium (photo: Americans For Prosperity)
Bachmann declared to a tightly packed group, “You came! You came to your House! We put the word out just a couple of days ago, and you came!”
Meanwhile, the White House downplayed the rally, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs criticized the Republican reform plan.
“There’s a rally going on without a solution on their side,” he told reporters.
Crowd surrounds Capitol for rally against Democrat health plan (photo: Americans For Prosperity)
As WND reported, Bachmann had been urging citizens to come “by the carload” to Washington and “pay an emergency House call to Congress” this week.
“This is the most effective way we have to kill socialized medicine,” she told WND. “Nothing is more effective at reaching a congressman than having a citizen come to Washington, D.C. – not asking for a handout, not asking for tax money, not asking to take some liberty away from somebody else, but just asking for freedom.”
Bachmann noted that Pelosi may have garnered the 218 votes necessary to pass the legislation as early as Saturday.
Rep. Hoyer told reporters today, “We certainly have well over 218 people who say they want to vote for the bill.”
Bachmann asked citizens to bring video cameras, office numbers and phone numbers of their representatives so they could find them and “get them on video saying how they will vote. “The bill, if adopted,” she said, “will be a disaster. It is unconstitutional. We need the help of American people.”
WND editor Joseph Farah urged citizens who could not attend the rally to send “pink slips” to every member of Congress.
Bachmann said Americans sent a crucial message to Congress today, making it clear that they do not support the Democrats’ health “reform.”
“We Republicans can’t stop the passage,” she said. “But with resistance from the American people, I am fully confident it can be defeated.”