TODAY'S PAPER
95° Good Evening
95° Good Evening
NewsNation

LI's Dem lawmakers report abuse over health care

WASHINGTON - Long Island's Democratic House members said Wednesday that during the heated health care debate they have gotten dozens of offensive or abusive phone calls from foes of the bill - and Rep. Steve Israel even reported one call to police as a threat.

But none of the four, who all voted for the overhaul Sunday, reported any physical violence aimed at them or vandalism of their Washington or district offices, as some lawmakers did.

At least 10 intimidating incidents aimed at lawmakers, including broken office windows and threats to their families, were serious enough for the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police to investigate, party leaders said.

In New York, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Fairfield) told Politico of a broken district office window and a caller threatening to send snipers to "kill the children" of the bill's backers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) cited protesters shouting racial and homophobic epithets at black and gay lawmakers at the Capitol Sunday.

Hoyer took Republican leaders to task for failing to strongly condemn overhaul foes who crossed the line. "To remain silent gives the impression of condoning or sanctioning such actions," Hoyer said.

Later, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Fox News, "There are a lot of angry Americans and they're angry over this health care bill." But he added, "Violence and threats are unacceptable. That is not the American way."

Both parties, however, are sending out fundraising appeals citing the feverish opposition to the new health care law, Republicans tapping into the anger and Democrats pointing to reports of offensive acts.

On Long Island, only Israel (D-Huntington) said he received a call that he reported to Capitol Police as a threat. He declined to detail it.

An aide said many callers to the office used anti-Semitic epithets aimed at Israel.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) didn't respond to a query. An aide to Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights) said, "We've gotten some very rude and a few abusive calls."

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), targeted by a Tea Party group last year, said that while he hadn't faced threats, his office had gotten many angry and insulting calls, including one directed at Obama's race.

He appealed to both sides to be civil in heated disputes.

"I was offended by some of the excesses by Code Pink and Moveon.org," he said of the left leaning groups. "But I've never seen anything that rises to the level of this" by conservatives.

Republican Rep. Peter King of Seaford, issued a statement: "I am opposed to any violence or disruption, whether it is the Tea Party or Moveon.org."

Meanwhile, Israel took on conservative leader Sarah Palin via Twitter Wednesday.

She tweeted: "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!' "

Israel replied: "Reload? @SarahPalinUSA Is your choice of words inciteful or ignorant?"

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News Photos and Videos