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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Capitol Hill

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Democrats Tout Health Care Reform in Denver

August 6, 2009 - 8:24 PM | by: Faith Mangan

On a scorching hot afternoon in Denver, you could not only feel the heat coming up off of the pavement, but also the heat directed at politicians.  A sizable crowd of vocal demonstrators on various sides of the health care issue made their voices heard today outside the Stout Street Clinic.  The protests preceded a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Jared Polis (D-CO), who were in town to promote health care reform.  No town hall-style disruptions here, access indoors was tightly restricted to media and invited guests.  The members of Congress toured the clinic which has received federal stimulus money and treats homeless patients.

John Parvensky of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless said they firmly believe, “Housing is health care and needs to be part of our health care debate.”  Speaker Pelosi called the facility “a perfect model for the country” on how to get the job done because it’s the right size for moving quickly. During the question and answer session, she was asked for reaction to what had been happening before her arrival (a reference to the protests) and she joked “I haven’t the faintest idea”, but she went on to say it’s a display of the democratic process, people coming forth and expressing their views and “we all respect that”.  She added, “don’t be afraid of the facts, what is in this legislation is very, very positive.”

Speaker Pelosi was also asked about what has been happening at town hall meetings and whether the disruptions have been an issue. She responded, “I don’t think so” and “members know best how to communicate with their constituents.”  She said the plan for August is to have a discussion, “There’s been no change in strategy.”

Earlier in the day, Colorado Republican State Chairman Dick Wadhams said during a conference call with reporters, the silence from Democrats such as Senator Mark Udall and Representative Betsy Markey has been “deafening” and it’s time to know where they stand on the issue.  When asked if Colorado Republicans have been involved in organizing the protest to today’s event featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Denver, Wadhams said he has seen e-mail traffic, but his organization has not been involved in that situation, he believes it’s a grassroots movement of average Coloradoans and he does not condone disruptions.  Regarding his specific concerns on health care reform, he signaled out the public option, calling it a backdoor way to single payer system which will destroy private health care plans.

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