Rowdiness broke out in the long line to enter the Senate Finance Committee hearing room when hundreds of people waiting to protest the Graham-Cassidy bill discovered that only 20 or 30 people would be admitted to the hearing room.
This article first appeared September 25, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.
By Rachel Bluth
“Kill the bill, don’t kill us,” one woman screamed, inches from a U.S. Capitol Police officer’s face Monday afternoon in a marbled hallway of U.S. Capitol at the start of the one and only public hearing on the GOP’s last-ditch effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.
The protesters had begun lining up at 5:30 a.m. — some paid others to hold their places — and by 2 p.m., hundreds of people were waiting for a coveted seat for the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing in Room 215 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Around lunchtime, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) strolled through, passing out slices of pizza to some in line.
The line was a five-minute walk from end to end.
Dozens had come in wheelchairs. Others used walkers. Many wore the signature red T-shirts of the disability rights group ADAPT. One person was dressed as the Grim Reaper. Another wore a balloon painted like a face with extra-large eyes, so lawmakers would know “I have my eyes on them.”
Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.