Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- The armies of "tea party" conservatives who packed town-hall meetings last month to oppose President's Obama's $1 trillion government healthcare plan are bringing their protest movement to the Capitol Saturday to urge its defeat.

Those who thought the hundreds of April 15 tax-day rallies across the country were a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon had better think again. It is a grassroots movement that has been gathering strength ever since, fueled anew by pending bills in Congress to enact a historic expansion of the government's power over the nation's private healthcare system.

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The tea party's march on Washington will come three days after Obama went before a joint session of Congress Wednesday to rescue his trouble-plagued healthcare plans from a deeply divided Democratic majority in the House and Senate that threatens the centerpiece of his domestic agenda and perhaps the future of his presidency.

But if you listened to the president's partisan, campaign-style Labor Day speech to a union crowd in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Monday, you would have come away thinking that the Democrats aren't the problem -- it's the Republicans who are blocking his plan. Not only are they blocking it, Obama says; they are blocking it without proposing any alternatives of their own.

This will come as news to House and Senate Democratic leaders who are having trouble winning the necessary votes in their own party to bring a bill up for a vote, despite huge majorities in both chambers.

In fact, Republicans have put forth plans that would broaden insurance coverage among the uninsured and bring down medical costs, too.

Like what? Well, like allowing self-employed individuals to deduct the costs of healthcare-insurance premiums from their taxable income, just as businesses and their employees are allowed to do now; providing added tax incentives and regulatory relief that would encourage small businesses to offer plans to their workers; and offering needed tort reform (which is nowhere to be seen in the Democrats' bills) that contributes mightily to escalating healthcare costs and has driven many doctors from their field.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.