U.S. House leaders decry violent threats to Congress members

08:18, March 26, 2010      

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Leaders from both isles of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday decried threats of violence toward Congress members after the healthcare reform bill passed, saying the harassments have "no place" in a political debate.

After the House adopted the health insurance overhaul on Sunday, hate-filled messages began to arrive. According to congressional leaders, at least four Democratic offices in New York, Arizona and Kansas were targeted in attacks, causing minor damage, and at least 10 members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, have reported threats, including phone messages and fax.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the threats "have no place in a civil debate" in the United States, while Republican No.1 in the House John Boehner said threats and violence "should not be part of a political debate," but he noted many are "angry" over the reform.

The House on Sunday night passed the Senate version of healthcare bill, which U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law on Tuesday. The House also passed a "fixes" package as a companion bill, which the Senate on Thursday passed with minor revisions, sending the measure to the House for another vote.

To convince the still-skeptic public, Obama on Thursday travelled to Iowa City, Iowa, where he first announced his healthcare plan, to deliver a speech, touting the benefits of the reform.

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