Activists Gather to Protest Health Care Legislation

Posted December 15, 2009 at 10:13am

About 50 activists from a half-dozen states gathered in Upper Senate Park Tuesday morning to prepare for a day of lobbying Senators’ offices and rallying against government-run health care.

The group — part of the “tea party— protest movement — plan to sit in their Senators’ offices until given a chance to talk to their Member of Congress about the Senate’s health care reform bill. Later, some will return to Upper Senate Park and join what they hope will be thousands of like-minded protesters in a rally.

“It’s not just the number of people against this bill. It’s the intensity,— said Jenny Beth Martin, a national organizer for Tea Party Patriots, one of the groups participating in Tuesday’s demonstrations. “We do not want this legislation. It will kill our constitutional rights.—

As the Senate scrambles to pass a bill before Christmas — and weighs the possibility of expanding Medicare — some Republican Senators will also participate in Tuesday afternoon’s rally.

GOP Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Richard Burr (N.C.) are scheduled to attend, along with radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. A press release from Americans for Prosperity claimed hundreds or thousands of people will arrive in buses for the 1:30 p.m. event.

But almost five hours before, the early birds of the rally headed into Senate office buildings to lobby for limited government, free markets and the demise of the health care reform bill. Several said they planned to sit in the offices for hours; however, many said they would not pretend to be dying patients in a government-run hospital, as was stated on TaxDayTeaParty.com.

Mark Meckler, who is a national organizer with Martin for the Tea Party Patriots, said the goal was to get Senators to “start listening.— Among other things, activists bemoaned the difficulty of finding an accurate copy of the Senate’s latest version, while others asserted that the entire bill violated the Constitution.

“We don’t even need to read the bill. The bill doesn’t matter,— said Bob Ferry, a Kentucky resident who has traveled to Capitol Hill several times. “We need to read the Constitution.—