Lingering Anger over Health Reform

April 20th, 2010 | Sources: Washington Post

Subjects:

Anger regarding the health-care overhaul caused the number of serious threats against members of Congress to triple in the first quarter of this year, according to federal law enforcement officials.

There were 42 such threats between January and March, 2010, compared with 15 during the same period in 2009

dontmesswithhime“The incidents ranged from vulgar to serious threats, including death threats,” said Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer. “The ability to carry them out is another question.”

Nearly all of this year’s threats have come from people who are opposed to health reform, although the threats are almost equally divided against both parties.

The threats have not waned since President Obama signed the bill into law on March 23; if anything, they have increased, according to an FBI spokeswoman.

In response, Capitol officials have beefed-up security at the 454 Senate offices across the country. Some offices have received special equipment to help screen mail. In other cases, new locks and surveillance cameras have been installed.

Incidents have involved House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Representatives Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Stephen Cohen (D-Tenn.),  Tom Perriello (D-Va.), and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), among others.

Most lawmakers have not altered their schedules however. “It hasn’t changed how we do business in the office,” Perriello spokeswoman Jessica Barba told the Washington Post.
 
Perriello was maintaining an “aggressive public events schedule,” with a dozen appearances last week and no security accompanying him.

“There’s more anger out there about the direction of our country,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)  said. “I see it and feel it in the public meetings, but I’m going to the same places and doing the same things I always have.”


 

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