Published March 16, 2010
Tea Party activists from across the country rallied outside Democratic congressional offices in Washington on Tuesday to protest the $875 billion health care bill and demand meetings with their respective members of Congress.
And by all appearances, their arrival is not being taken lightly.
House Democrats received a formal memo from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, listing tips for how targeted representatives should handle the crowds of activists.
"Tens of thousands of conservative and Tea Party activists will be on the Hill as part of what they are dubbing a 'Surge Against Obamacare,'" reads the memo, which also includes a checklist of provisions in the current bill to counter the "caricature of the reform bill presented by right-wing media outlets."
The checklist says: "Reduces the deficit; Cracks down on Medicare waste, fraud, and abuse; Provides historic tax credit for small businesses and individuals to purchase health insurance."
The rally, dubbed the "Code Red Health Care Rally," featured a host of Republican speakers, including Reps. Mike Pence, R-Ind.; Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Tom Price, R-Georgia; and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
"Kill the bill," shouted protesters, as a string of Tea Party leaders spoke out against the massive health care overhaul.
Two separate groups affiliated with the Tea Party movement, Freedom Works and the Tea Party Patriots, told Fox News they had expected a large Pennsylvania contingent to be present at the rally. The office of Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., who voted against the health care legislation last fall, was named as a popular destination for protesters.
Altmire, a pro-life Democrat, told Fox News in an interview Tuesday that he remains concerned about the cost of the bill as well as its current language on abortion.
"There's definitely a lot of anxiety about this bill," said Altmire. "I'm not gonna cast a vote that my constituents are not comfortable with."
Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, attributes the Tea Party's organized push to kill the legislation as reason for its hold-up.
"I think that the Tea Party movement and activists and rallies like today are the reason this bill isn't already passed," said Phillips, who was a featured speaker at the protest.
"They're trying to cram this 2,000-page bill down the throat of the American people," Phillips said of the legislation, suggesting that "individual snapshot reforms" are a more viable approach to a health care overhaul.
Fox News' Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.