March 16th, 2010
03:57 PM ET
13 years ago

Activists, lawmakers rally against health care bill

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.

She said "that goes totally against the Constitution" that both chambers must pass a given legislative measure.

Informal estimates put the crowd at between 500 and 1000 people, nearly all of them Caucasian.

Luis Padilla, originally from Latin America now living in Virginia, told CNN he turned out for the rally because "for ten years that I've been in this country, I've been making my own decisions, the doctor, the dentist, and I have a family the last seven years, and I want to keep it that way," in determining for himself his medical coverage.

Padilla said he believes the bill would take that choice away, and provide a handout he doesn't want.

"I don't expect the government to pay for me," he explained, portraying the legislation as bad for people like him.

"If I come to this country, expecting the government to take care of my family, to take away my responsibility, it takes away the incentive for me to prosper; the incentive for me to get a better job, the incentive for me to walk the extra mile because the government's going to do it."

"I want to do it myself," he concluded.

James Bond closed his cleaning business in Wilmington, North Carolina to make the trip to attend the rally, saying he wants to "protest against the economic terrorism going on in Washington with the passage of this bill."

He told CNN, "I'm very concerned with the price tag associated with it, and I would really love to see things worked out where we do have insurance reform, but at a reasonable price."

Bond's daughter Taylor, 7, was riding on her father's shoulders dressed as the Statue of Liberty. She cheerfully shouted the word "Liberty!" as people gathered for the demonstration at a park across from the U.S. Capitol.

Jim Fernander from Douglas Hill, Georgia, said simply "I don't like it. I don't want the same people that run the Post Office running my health care."

Filed under: Health care • Tea Party movement
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