Hoyer: Violent Threats Not "Par for the Course"

Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Thursday strongly condemned threats leveled against House Democrats in the wake of a historic vote on health care reform and said both parties need to do a better job of keeping the debate civil.

"The bottom line is we need to be very careful in public life that our rhetoric does not turn into incitement," Hoyer told CBS' "The Early Show".

Hoyer said Wednesday that more than 10 members of Congress have received threats in the wake of the health reform vote, and the FBI and police are investigating. The chief of the Capitol Police, the Sergeant at Arms and a representative from the FBI met with members Wednesday to encourage them to report all threats.

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Republican House leader John Boehner put out a statement denouncing violent threats, CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reports.

Hoyer rebutted some Republicans who claim the boiling tensions were simply "par for the course" in a debate as important as health care.

The discussion has gone "far beyond legitimate debate," Hoyer said, adding that politicians need to make it clear that violence is "unacceptable."

Meanwhile, early Thursday Senate Republicans were able to kill language in the health care overhaul bill, sending the legislation back to the House for another round of Congressional approval.

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A CBS News poll released Wednesday found that nearly two in three Americans said they wanted Republicans to continue challenging parts of the health care reform bill.

Hoyer said he expects to receive the Senate bill Thursday afternoon and have it on the House floor for debate a few hours later.

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  • Sean Alfano

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