Capitol Police arrest 40 during healthcare protests

Capitol Police arrest 40 during healthcare protests
© Greg Nash

U.S. Capitol Police arrested 40 demonstrators protesting Senate Republicans' ObamaCare repeal efforts on Wednesday.

Police said they responded to calls from several Senate-side offices about protest activity, warning demonstrators to cease and desist. Those who refused, according to police, were arrested and taken to Capitol Police headquarters for processing.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 19 men and 21 women had been arrested and charged with unlawful crowding, obstructing or incommoding.

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There have been multiple protests on Capitol Hill against the Better Care Reconciliation Act since Senate Republicans made their plan to overhaul the country's healthcare system public.

More than 100 protesters gathered in and around the offices of key lawmakers on Wednesday in an effort to pressure them to oppose the healthcare bill, according to Sinclair Broadcast Group

Photos and videos of the demonstrations posted on social media showed a series of sit-ins and protests in the offices of GOP Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams MORE (Ohio) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump jumps into 2020 race The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump jumps into 2020 race GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (Fla.), among others.

Rubio has said he is still reviewing the bill and hasn't yet decided how he will vote.

Portman has come out against the bill, while Toomey is said to be leaning toward a "yes" vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump's Saudi arms deal MORE (R-Ky.) initially planned to schedule a vote on the healthcare bill as early as this week, but said Tuesday that he would postpone a vote until after lawmakers return from their July 4 recess.

McConnell and Senate GOP leaders need at least 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for the bill. At least nine Republicans so far have said they cannot vote for it in its current form, and several others have voiced misgivings about the legislation.