Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that at least 10 members of Congress have received threats since the health care reform bill passed Sunday night and that the FBI is investigating.
"We've had very serious incidents that have occurred in the last 48 or 72 hours," Hoyer said. "The incidents of threats, whether in person or through telephones or through other communication devices, have given great concern to members for the safety of themselves and their families."
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that she had reported two "alarming" incidents to the FBI since Sunday -- one at her district office, where a brick was thrown though a window, and another at her campaign offices, where a caller left voice mail referencing snipers.
Slaughter pointed to Sarah Palin specifically for "fanning the flames with coded rhetoric" against Democrats. After the health care bill passed, Palin wrote on her Twitter account, "Commonsense Conservatives and Lovers of America: Don't retreat. Instead RELOAD!"
Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) angrily tweeted back to Palin Wednesday, "Reload? Is your choice of words inciteful or ignorant?"
Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat from Michigan, said Sunday that his wife had received threatening phone calls at the family's home in Michigan throughout the health care debate. CBS News reported that one message left for Stupak said, "I hope you die."
Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) said the FBI is investigating a ruptured gas line at his brother's house just days after his address was posted online by Virginia Tea Party members. Apparently, they intended to post the congressman's home address but published his brother's by mistake.
Hoyer joined his fellow Democrats in saying that Republican leaders need to lower their rhetoric and speak out loudly against the threats against members of Congress. "Any show of appreciation for such actions encourages such actions and ought not to be done," he said.
Minority Leader John Boehner condemned threats of violence, Politico reported.
"I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill, and that Washington Democrats just aren't listening," Boehner said. "But, as I've said, violence and threats are unacceptable. That's not the American way. We need to take that anger and channel it into positive change. Call your congressman, go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, make your voice heard -- but let's do it the right way."
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