(FOX NEWS) — California Democratic lawmakers are facing a brutal backlash from union activists and others on the left after shelving a universal health care bill – a debate that has grown so intense that lawmakers say they’ve faced death threats and other violent rhetoric.
Assembly Democrats publicly decried the “bullying tactics” in a written statement over the weekend, maintaining that lawmakers are committed to improving health care but need to have an “open discourse.”
“In recent days, we have become alarmed and disheartened by bullying tactics, threats of violence, and death threats by a few who disagree with the decision of Speaker Anthony Rendon to postpone the advancement of SB 562,” they said, referring to the scrapped single-payer health care bill. “While it is appropriate for persons of varying views to express concern, disapproval or disfavor about the delay, it is never acceptable to engage in those tactics.”
Rendon announced on June 23 that he was shelving legislation to set up a government-run, single-payer health care system in the state. This prompted an immediate backlash from the California Nurses Association, which had backed the $400 billion plan.
On social media, the union circulated the image of a California bear with a knife stuck in its back. On the blade was Rendon’s name. The protests and rhetoric escalated from there.
One tweet that gained attention in local media said, “I pray someone checks his schedule for baseball practice” – an apparent reference to the Rep. Steve Scalise shooting outside Washington last month.
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