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Bachmann, King, House Conservatives Launch ‘Declaration of Health Care Independence’

At a mid-day press conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) launched a “Declaration of Health Care Independence” — a statement of principles that they hoped Democrats and voters would sign onto, but not one that would be backed by legislation or one that could be posted at their websites.

“On the 18th of April, 1775, there was a shot fired in Massachusetts that was heard around the world,” said Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.). “Last week, Massachusetts fired another shot heard around the world.” After speaking, Akin, like the other members, knelt down and signed a blown-up version of the declaration.

Bachmann said that the plan had been set in motion before Scott Brown’s upset election in Massachusetts, but all of the members at the conference agreed that Brown’s election had restarted — not killed — the health care debate. I asked whether any had spoken to Brown about his health care ideas, as Brown had backed a health care bill in Massachusetts that’s anathema to conservatives, and that includes a mandate that defies this declaration.

“The principles I heard him talk about during the campaign,” said King, “as distinct from the specific bill that you mentioned, I think are consistent with the language here.”

“One of the things you have to love about Scott Brown is — while I’m not familiar with that vote, since then, certainly, he has been in his pick-up truck, and he’s been talking to people,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). “It gave him access to what the people really think. What you heard him espouse are the same principles we’re talking about here.”

“It seemed from his campaign that he wasn’t too favorable about what had been concocted [here],” said Akin.

King said that every Republican in the House basically agreed with the declaration and that non-Republicans might sign on. “I think some Democrats will,” he said, “some conservative ones will.”

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