Indiana Rep. Mike Pence told a crowd of "tea party" supporters Monday that Democrats in Congress don't have
enough votes to pass President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation—a bill that he warned would bring "job-killing
The third-ranking House Republican addressed a crowd that filled the Indiana Statehouse's south lawn for a "Kill
the Bill" rally held by the Indianapolis Tea Party.
Pence told the crowd, estimated by state police at about 650 attendees, that people in his congressional district and across
the state and nation are angry and don't like the legislation. He said it would bring a "government takeover of health
"We don't want a massive government bureaucracy paid for by job-killing taxes during the worst economy in 25 years,"
he told demonstrators as they loudly chanted, "Kill the bill."
The hourlong rally began with "God Bless America" and other patriotic songs as some in the crowd waved American
flags and signs such as "Obamacare is unconstitutional" and "Kill the bill, not the elderly."
Pence said some Democrats are wrong in boasting that they have the votes to pass the bill.
"No matter what you see on TV, no matter the proud posturing and prognostication of the White House and Congress, I
got news for you — they don't have the votes," he said to cheers.
As Democrats search for supporters on a crucial vote on health care legislation that could come this week, Pence said they've
turned to Indiana's congressional delegation. He said Democrats are wooing "a couple of holdouts" and urged
demonstrators to tell their congressmen to vote against the bill.
"We gotta make sure our congressmen from Indiana don't take the bait," he said.
Although he didn't mention Reps. Baron Hill and Brad Ellsworth by name, those two conservative Democrats are the two
"holdouts" Pence alluded to, said Brian Vargus, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University
He said persuading conservative Democrats to vote for the health care plan could be key to its passage.
"The bottom line is they can have all the rallies they want but it comes down to the votes," Vargus said.
Columbus resident Rhonda Bell traveled to Indianapolis with three friends to hear Pence at the rally. She said Obama is "dictating"
to Congress what should be in the bill and that the American people have been cut out of the process.
"Washington seems blind and deaf — and I could throw dumb in there too — and they're just not listening
to us," she said. "We want to let them see that a lot of people are very upset and also afraid about what's
Meanwhile, about 100 supporters of health care reform legislation staged a competing rally around the corner on the Statehouse's
east side. The group held up signs such as "I'm dying from health care" and cheered as passing cars in rush-hour
traffic honked in support.
"We want health reform and we want it now," Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis, told the crowd.
Earlier Monday, Gov. Mitch Daniels said he believes the "tea party" movement has touched a nerve with some people
because of their concern that health care reform would greatly boost government spending.
"It's an immoral burden to leave to our children if we don't change it," he said. "So I think the
tea party has helped get people's attention to that."