They’re still showing up.
With health care reform looking more and more certain of passage – albeit without a public option – tea party protesters continue to congregate outside the U.S. Capitol and at Congressional district offices to protest not only health care, but high spending, soaring deficits, and increased government interference in their lives.
A showing of about 1000 conservatives stormed the lawn outside the Senate today, chanting “kill the bill” and “listen to me,” before a lineup of speakers that included Laura Ingraham, Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. Jim DeMint, and other Members of Congress. Other supporters visited their local district offices in tandem.
The first tea party protests began in April, when taxes were filed. They reached a peak during Congress’ summer recess, when Members traditionally hold meetings with their constituents. It’s now December, and the tea partiers are, well, still showing up for the party.
“If they want to fix health care – which needs fixing – a government takeover of one-sixth of our economy is not the way to do it,” said Forrest, from Texas. “The way to do it is through targeted things that the Republicans Party has been trying to do, and hasn’t been able to get a voice in Congress to do that.”
At least a dozen tea partiers who were interviewed by this reporter said they had no intentions of quitting their rallies, even if health care passed the Senate.
“I felt it was important to show up today,” said Dave from Massachusetts, who showed up at the rally with his five young children. “Congress is not hearing the people.”
Rep. Steve King, (R-Iowa), had some of the strongest words at the event, which lasted a full hour and a half, followed by individual visits to Congressional offices.
“They’ve forgotten about the pillars of American exceptionalism in this country,” said King. “We have people who are Marxist and communist who are masquerading as liberals and progressives.”
He also had these words of encouragement for the attendees:
“You’re the God-loving, God-fearing foundation of America, and we’re taking it back,” he said. “Kill the bill!”
Sen. Joe Lieberman is poised to be the 60th vote on controversial health care legislation without a public option, but no Republicans have backed the bill with or without it. A large part of that opposition is due to a $15,200 annual fee, as calculated by the Congressional Budget Office, which would go into effect if an individual was not insured by his or her employer. That requirement is subsidized by the government for a family of four who earns under $88,200, but would represent 17% of the total income for a family of four making $88,201.