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Wow! In just a day and a half we got more than 140,000 (and still rising fast) signatures on a petition to encourage Representatives to sign a “discharge petition” to force a vote to end the shutdown. Progressives are united. If Democrats don’t cave we can stay united all the way to the 2014 elections.

Here is the background. Republicans in the House have shut down the government, demanding that Obamacare be killed (or whatever they are demanding this week). They have not done their job and passed a budget and a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to keep the government operating (at much lower funding levels) contains a demand that Obamacare be ended.

People are getting hurt. The economy is taking a hit.

Speaker Boehner refuses to bring a “clean” CR up for a vote without the kill-Obamacare provision, even though enough Republicans have said they will vote for it that we know it will pass. So Democrats are taking advantage of a rule that says if enough members ask for a vote, there has to be a vote, and have started a “discharge petition” to make that happen.

The Petition

Yesterday Campaign for America’s Future joined with Democracy for America (DFA) and Daily Kos to circulate an online “End the Shutdown” petition that says “Tell Republicans: Sign the discharge petition and end this shutdown” and the response has been just outstanding. Here is the text of the petition email (and click through to read the petition):

House Democrats are pushing a “discharge petition” that would force a vote to reopen the government, despite the opposition of John Boehner and the Tea Party Republicans.

They only need 18 Republicans for it to pass. 21 Republicans have gone on the record that they are willing to support a clean budget.

Now is their chance to back up their words with action and end this shutdown for good.

Please join Campaign for America’s Future, DFA and Daily Kos in asking these 21 House Republicans to sign the discharge petition and end the shutdown.

Thanks for all you do…

More Than 140,000 Signatures!

So far this petition has more than 140,000 signatures! (Add yours by clicking here.) This number is still rising — and fast. That is a whopping number of signatures for an obscure procedural device in the rules of the House of Representatives that allows members to force a bill to come to the floor for a vote.

More than 140,000 signatures demanding an obscure procedural device in the House. In just a day and a half. This is beyond impressive. This kind of result shows that something really is going on.

Progressives Are Roused And Engaged

The budget / debt-ceiling fight has progressives interested and engaged. They are following the story and getting involved. They are fired up and ready to go.

Republicans are in trouble. People are looking for an occasion to let the elites in DC know that they are watching. This kind of engagement is how you win off-year congressional elections.

And there just happen to be off-year congressional elections coming up.

Engagement In The Field

Petitions are grabbing big numbers. Of course all kinds of groups are holding meetings with members of Congress about this. But it isn’t stopping with online petitions and meetings in Congressional offices.

There is all kinds of engagement going on “in the field” as well to tell them to stop this shutdown. Republicans are getting an earful at home as well. People are speaking up at “Town Hall” meetings around the country. Millions are calling and visiting their Congressional offices (and you should, too). And unions like the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) are holding demonstrations in DC as well as in the states.

Dems — Please Don’t Blow It

Democrats: there are two things that could blow this progressive unity away. The first is if you give in and let Republicans get away with taking the government and the economy hostage. Do not let them get their way, because they will just keep doing it, again and again.

The other thing that might take the wind out of progressives’ sails is if progressives hear that the DC elites are again negotiating to cut Social Security or Medicare. After decades of increasing income and wealth inequality, tax cuts for the rich and their giant corporations, payroll tax increases on working people, increasing the retirement age from 65, trade deals that kill the middle class — the last thing anyone needs is more of this, more kicking working people, especially through any kind of cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

People absolutely depend on these programs. Social Security and Medicare need to be increased, not cut.

So again: Do not let Republicans get away with taking the government and the economy hostage. And do not cut Social Security and/or Medicare, increase them.

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