As Drew reminded me last night when I admitted that I hadn’t called out senators in a while: This is not the time to slack on resisting. This is the time to dial it up a few notches.
Trumpcare, a disaster of a bill that would cost an estimated 23 million Americans their health insurance to provide giant tax cuts for the wealthy, moved on to the Senate after passing the House by a narrow majority. Because Republicans are using a process called reconciliation to fast-track the bill, they only need 51 votes, rather than the usual 60. However, the trade-off is that they must allow an unlimited number of amendments to the bill during the vote-a-rama. This presents an opportunity for Dems to get creative. If Dems file thousands and thousands of amendments and call for a vote on each, they could hold off the bill in perpetuity:
“If Republicans bring their Obamacare repeal bill to the floor using a Senate procedure called reconciliation, Democrats cannot filibuster the legislation. Liberal activists are pressing leaders to halt all Senate business in protest of the Republican repeal efforts, but that idea is not under consideration, senators said.
But Democrats do have vote-a-rama — a Senate procedure in which Democrats can force votes on an unlimited number of amendments. In theory, they can force votes for as many hours or days as they have amendments to offer, as long as senators are willing to vote every 15 minutes.”
So call your senators! Here’s what to say:
I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP] calling about healthcare. I’m devastated that the House has passed the ObamaCare repeal legislation. I would like to speak to a legislative assistant who works on health care, can you connect me [to NAME, if you have one. PAUSE for the assistant to come on the line].
Can you explain Senator [NAME’s] position on the American Health Care Act, especially the CBO’s estimate that 23 million more Americans will become uninsured within the next decade?
Dem Will Vote NO
While it’s a huge relief to know my senator supports my right to affordable care, the battle before us is really frightening. Can you please thank Senator [NAME] for everything they have done so far, but also ask [HIM/HER] to explore another option? Since Republicans are using reconciliation to fast-track their bill, they have to allow an unlimited number of amendments. Democrats could take advantage of this and keep a cruel law from passing by filing as many amendments as possible and calling them up for a floor vote, delaying the bill for a substantial amount of time. I know this is an extreme measure, but taking health care from millions is also extreme. Please pass along my request and follow up with me at [CONTACT INFO.] Thank you for taking my call!
Lean YES or UNDECIDED
I’m extremely worried about this bill because [SHARE YOUR STORY.] I’m also concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding the bill. I am fundamentally opposed to any legislation that limits coverage options or makes health care less affordable. We can’t afford to slash the Medicaid budget either. I’m concerned the GOP’s bill will do both of these things and I’m deeply frustrated at the partisan attempt to push this bill through without Senate hearings or public debate. It’s really important to me that the public and experts have plenty of time to review this bill. Please tell [Senator’s NAME] to speak up for the democratic process and demand that their colleagues hold hearings on this bill. Please follow up with me at [CONTACT INFO]. Thanks for taking my call!
Bonus action: If you’re in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, go vote your Ossoff!