By: ERIN DURKIN
July 19, 2017
City Councilman Corey Johnson was among more than 150 protesters cuffed inside the U.S. Capitol Wednesday while protesting the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare.
Johnson (D-Manhattan), the chair of the Council’s health committee, was arrested around 4 p.m. after a sit-in at the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Hundreds of demonstrators with pre-existing medical conditions targeted the offices of Republican senators.
“I am HIV-positive. As an elected official, I am lucky to have good health care. But there are countless others who could literally die if the Republicans get their way,” Johnson wrote in an email to constituents.
Johnson said he spent about five hours in custody and was charged with misdemeanor incommoding, a District of Columbia statute that prohibits demonstrations inside the Capitol complex.
Capitol police said demonstrators were arrested at three Senate office buildings, saying there were about 45 different locations where protesters gathered.
Of the 150 people arrested, four were charged with resisting arrest.
The Republican health care bill has been stopped for now, after a handful of Republican senators said they would not vote for it, leaving it without the votes needed to pass. McConnell then said he’d hold a vote to repeal Obamacare outright with no immediate replacement, but enough GOP senators have also said they’ll vote against that.
Liberal groups went forward with Wednesday’s protest, saying the Affordable Care Act remains under threat.
“Trump, McConnell and Ryan are still driving hard to repeal the ACA and strip health care from tens of millions of Americans. What they are doing is pure evil. We must not allow it,” Johnson said in a statement.