Washington (CNN) – He sat down and yelled, "You lie," at President Obama. But according to a new TV ad, he "stood up, when most people have been silent."
That's the sentiment from voters in South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's new television spot - the first of his re-election campaign.
The 60-second spot features voters defending Wilson's work on their behalf, though not specifically his outburst at President Obama during a health care speech to Congress last September.
"He's passionate about what he does. And I respect that," one person says in the ad. "He says what he means, and he does what he says," explains another.
Washington (CNN) - Five more House Democrats said Tuesday that they will vote against Senate health care legislation, which puts opponents of reform just 11 votes shy of the 216 needed to prevent President Obama from scoring a major victory on his top domestic priority.
An ongoing CNN analysis shows that opposition in the House to the Senate health care plan has reached 205 members.
A total of 27 House Democrats, including nine who supported the House plan in November, have indicated that they would join a unified Republican caucus in opposing the Senate plan, which passed in that chamber December 24 with the minimum required 60 votes.
Nonetheless, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut said Monday after a meeting with rank-and-file Democrats that "the votes are there" to pass the health care bill.
Washington (CNN) – When you walk into Del. Donna Christensen's Capitol Hill office, it's hard to miss proof of her medical expertise.
Christensen is the only female doctor in Congress. Her medical degree, professional licenses, board certification, awards and family physician's creed occupy an entire wall next to her desk. She practiced medicine for 20 years before she was elected to Congress in 1996.
A non-voting delegate representing the U.S. Virgin Islands, Christensen sits on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee and on its Health Subcommittee. She also is the point person for the Congressional Black Caucus's efforts on health care.
But while Republican doctors-turned lawmakers have been all over the airwaves with their opposition to health care reform, Christensen has been largely absent from her party's efforts to explain its ambitious legislation.
She sat down Tuesday for an interview with CNN. "Up to the other day, I was saying to somebody in leadership, 'We need to be out there. We haven't had a message. We need to be out there talking about our bill.'"
Washington (CNN) – While Congressional Democrats and Republicans threw dirt bombs at one another over health care on Tuesday, two Senate veterans engaged in actual bipartisanship a few blocks away on an issue far from the headlines: Tax reform.
Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, spoke before a small audience at the Heritage Foundation on a bill they introduced last month to dramatically overhaul federal tax law.
In terms of its scope, Wyden-Gregg is big. For individuals, the bill would halve the number of individual tax rates to three. It would end the Alternative Minimum Tax, which lawmakers have been "temporarily" fixing for years so it doesn't smack middle-income families.
It would consolidate the three different kinds of individual retirement accounts. The Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act would also clean up the corporate tax system. It would get rid of the current rate structure and replace it with one flat corporate rate of 24 percent, and eliminate a lot of big corporate tax breaks.
Washington (CNN) - President Obama launched his health care reform effort shortly after taking office, saying the country could not afford to continue to sustain the costs and the burden on families.
The House is expected to vote soon on the health care bill that the Senate passed in December, though many House Democrats remain opposed to it.
One of the options for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: having the House pass the Senate bill but following up with another vote in both chambers on a series of changes. The idea is to make the legislation more acceptable for House Democrats opposed to the Senate's version.
Although some of the provisions in the reform bill won't be implemented immediately, here's what Democrats say would go into effect in the first year after passage:
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration seems to be redefining what an "up or down" vote on health care means.
White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs dodged repeated questions Tuesday about the possibility of a "deem and pass" rule vote being considered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.
Gibbs reverted to talking points when asked about the procedure, which would sidestep a direct vote on the Senate bill. "I don't think anybody is going to misinterpret the outcome on where people are on health care," he offered.
Another White House aide said that "no decision has been made in the House," but added, "either way, there's going to be an up or down vote. That's the whole point."
At a health care event in Strongsville, Ohio, on Monday, President Obama told the crowd, "I believe Congress owes the American people a final up or down vote."
Washington (CNN) - Amid the partisanship and protests over health care reform on Capitol Hill Tuesday, another challenge: a phone call pile-up at the House of Representatives.
"The House phone system is overloaded due to an unprecedented amount of calls attributed to the significant interest in the health care bill," a spokesman for the House Administration Committee told CNN. "Some callers will experience busy signals during high-traffic hours."
It is unclear whether it's supporters or opponents of the sweeping $875 billion dollar measure who are primarily jamming the House phone system.
Both sides are stepping up their efforts ahead of a final vote in the House which is expected Friday.
–CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) – Accusing the Democratic congressional majority of using tricks to try to pass legislation to reform the nation's health care system, activists and some Republican lawmakers rallied Tuesday in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol to express their opposition to the measure.
"If your bill can't pass the House, scrap the bill, start over," said Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, addressing demonstrators from groups that included the "Tea Party Express," "Americans for Prosperity," and "FreedomWorks."
Christina Latchford of Florida said she rejects the substance of the bill mandating certain medical coverage, and the methods being used to move it along.
"The way they're trying to put it through is unconstitutional," she told CNN, "One house is not approving it, and the other is trying to pass it, is my understanding.
Washington (CNN) – Just how many people showed up for Tuesday's rallies on Capitol Hill to protest health care reform legislation?
It depends whom you ask.
The Democratic National Committee said their unofficial count was around 300 people.
"There are more people on the blue line during rush hour than there were on Capitol Hill today at the tea party code red rally," said Brad Woodhouse, DNC Communications Director.
The DNC says Tuesday's crowds appeared smaller than crowds at recent events in favor of passing health care reform that were put together by Organizing for America, which is a wing of the DNC.
"Clearly the momentum is on the side of those who believe that we cannot wait any longer to pass this critical legislation," added Woodhouse.
But Levi Russell, spokesman for Tea Party Express, which organized the main rally Tuesday, told CNN that some 2,500 to 3,000 people attended their event, and he says even more activists are in Washington protesting the bill.
"The people simply will not allow this obese bill to be shoved down their throats by the Obama administration. They want to save their careers, but we are here to protect our nation, and there are far more of us than there are of them. The crowd today proves we will not stop," Russell said.