Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 7 News List

Healthcare supporters threatened

CAPITOL HILL CONCERNEDOpponents of healthcare reform have threatened to kill Democratic lawmakers who voted for the legislation — and their children

AFP , WASHINGTON

Maria Soto gets her eyes tested by South Gate Optometry during a free clinic to provide some healthcare services to the one in four Californians who lack health insurance and services, at the ICDC medical training college in Los Angeles on Wednesdsay.

PHOTO: AFP

Top Democratic US lawmakers have called in the police and FBI after House of Representatives members who voted for historic healthcare reform received violent threats and obscene, abusive messages.

Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said more than 10 Democratic lawmakers had reported incidents since Sunday’s vote, some of which he described as “very serious.”

US President Barack Obama was scheduled to travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, yesterday for an event to tout the benefits of the healthcare overhaul.

But some opponents of the reform have threatened violence, forcing several lawmakers to step up their security, as one senior Democrat reported bricks had been thrown through the windows of her home district office.

Democratic Representative Bart Stupak, who brokered a deal clearing the way for some fellow anti-abortion lawmakers to vote for the legislation, received a fax with a noose and the caption “all Baby Killers come to unseemly ends Either by the hand of man or by the Hand of God.”

The abusive tone of some of the threats as well as incidents of violence have shaken lawmakers as they prepare to head home this weekend for a spring recess.

Stupak’s office received a voice-mail in which an irate man declares: “You baby-killing m***********. You turncoat son of a bitch piece of shit. I hope you bleed out your ass, get cancer and die.”

The FBI was investigating a report of a gas line being cut at the home of a lawmaker’s brother, and the US Capitol Police was briefing lawmakers on how to keep themselves and their families safe.

“We received information that the congressman may have been threatened and that was the reason for us going to his brother’s house, because it was related to us that he may have been targeted,” the FBI said.

“That activity ought to be unacceptable in our democracy,” Hoyer said.

House Rules Committee chairman Louise Slaughter said in a statement that someone threw a brick through the window of her district office and “a voice-mail referencing snipers” was left on her campaign office phone system.

“’Assassinate’ is the word they used ... toward the children of lawmakers who voted yes,” reported a Rochester TV news outlet of the message left for the New York lawmaker.

The incidents occurred after demonstrators demanding lawmakers “kill the bill” reportedly spat on one black representative and called others racial slurs just outside the Capitol over the weekend.

Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner said many Americans were “angry” about the health law, but underlined that “violence and threats are unacceptable. That’s not the American way.”

“We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard — but let’s do it the right way,” he said.

Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat, said it was up to lawmakers of all political stripes to send a unified message that such threats from constituents were unacceptable.

“We in this Congress have got to come together in a bipartisan way and tamp this foolishness down. It doesn’t make sense. That’s not what a democracy is all about,” Clyburn told CNN.

Ahead of the healthcare vote, conservative blogger “Solly” Forell was already reportedly being investigated by the US Secret Service for threatening posts toward Obama that he made on Twitter.

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