Health Care Debate Follows Lawmakers Home

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Capitol Hill was virtually deserted, Friday night, as both the House and Senate began their summer recess.

It's usually a quiet time for lawmakers to check in with voters back home, but with the debate heating up over healthcare reform, the break is proving to be anything but quiet for many.

At town hall meetings and rallies in their home districts, lawmakers are getting an earful over America's healthcare overhaul.

Outside Detroit, Congressman John Dingell barely got his opening remarks out, when an angry protestor pushed his son in a wheelchair up front, arguing his point on the issue.

And that's just one example.

"I think the more people look at the details of this healthcare reform plan , the more opposition we are going to see in it," said Dick Wadhams of the Colorado Republican Party. 

Texas Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett downplayed the protests, claiming they are carefully orchestrated. 

"This notion of a grassroots campaign is totally and completely phony," he said.  "The Republican party has coordinated this apparent outrage and stirred it up.  

Some demonstrators are clearly working in a deliberate way.   A conservative activist wrote a memo  advising others at town meetings to put the congressman "on the defensive with your questions and follow-up." 

"These are real constituents with real concerns, even if they're getting organizing help or being told about it from outside groups," argued ABC News' Rick Klein.  "They're real people who vote and matter in the political process."

How angry are these demonstrators? Some were seen with signs comparing President Obama and Congress to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.  

With emotions rising, House Democrats are even cancelling  public meetings. 

"I think we can have honest policy disagreements, without being disagreeable or certainly getting violent," said Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

The next legislative action on health care won't be until at least Sept. 8, when lawmakers return to Washington.

*Originally published August 7, 2009

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.