Protesters rally both for and against health care

March 20, 2010 12:11:32 AM PDT
A noisy protest over health care reform in Pleasanton briefly shut down the on and off ramps to Interstate 580 at Foothill Road Friday afternoon.

It surprised even police when about 200 people showed up to protest the health care bill. That sparked a counter protest with another 100 people turning out to show their support for the bill.

The protest started outside the office of Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, and moved to the freeway overpass.

The demonstrators were making their case for and against the historic health care reform bill lawmakers will vote on this weekend. It was going to be a Tea Party rally against the health care legislation but it became a joint rally with opponents and supporters of the health care bill. Both sides were hoping to influence McNerney's vote.

It started with a couple of hundred conservative opponents of the bill.

"The problem with health care right now is the government," one said.

But they were quickly joined by about 150 more liberal supporters of the health care legislation.

"I think health care is a very important issue, it saves jobs, it saves American lives," one said.

McNerney's staff has been unable to handle all the calls. Friday, he told the Democratic leadership he is leaning towards voting "yes."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, was beaming at Friday afternoon's press conference.

"I'm very excited about the momentum that is developing around the bill," she said.

In Northern Virginia, President Obama sounded like it is a done deal.

"We are at the point where we are going to do something historic this weekend; that's what this healthcare vote is all about," he said.

Republicans are admitting they do not have the votes to stop it.

"The American people do not want any part of this and if anyone thinks the American people are going to forget this vote, just watch," House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

Congressman McNerney's spokesperson told ABC7 he plans to read the entire bill over the weekend and weigh what his constituents have told him before making up his mind.


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