Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to delay the vote on his odious health care repeal until after the July 4 recess reflects the tremendous pressure people are placing on lawmakers to own up to the harm this bill will cause – and the need for us to raise the stakes.
McConnell's delay gives us more time to apply this pressure, but it also gives him time to buy votes with side deals, which he is already trying to do.
To attract those votes considered more moderate – like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia – McConnell will create the appearance of addressing “concerns” as he hands out cash from a slush fund.
Amp It Up
We can’t let these bribes provide cover for a bill that will lead to tens of thousands of deaths.
That means amping up the pressure we’ve been building in recent weeks In the face of a secretive, undemocratic legislative process in the Senate.
A lot of that pressure has come from Maine People’s Alliance, which has done everything from delivering Sen. Collins 100 messages-in-a-pill-bottle to crashing Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s fundraiser in Boston to joining with doctors and small business to protect health care.
We’ve also seen pressure in Iowa, where on Monday members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement descended on the offices of Sen. Joni Ernst and Sen. Chuck Grassley, telling their health care stories.
And, this weekend, West Virginians launched a two-day action on Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, with a sit-in at her office that led to six arrests – and national coverage. West Virginia Citizen Action Group (WVCAG) and their allies have been relentless. The two days of action this week come after WVCAG and friends filled a bus of constituents and headed to D.C. to press Capito there.
Since these actions, Sen. Collins and Sen. Capito have announced their opposition to the current Senate health repeal bill. These statements of opposition show they can put the lives of their constituents before party and rich donors.
Easing the Sting
But that doesn’t mean lawmakers can’t be swayed by party pressure – or backroom payouts to ease the sting of the devastation this health care repeal will unleash in their local communities.
A clinic here or an opioid treatment program there won’t fix the senselessness of this bill, as revealed in Monday’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis: 22 million people losing coverage by 2026, 15 million of them forced off Medicaid. Deductibles consuming half a poor person’s income. Premiums tripling or more for people who are older and less wealthy.
What You Can Do Today
That’s why we’re ramping up the pressure all across the country with a 'Medicaid, Not Millionaires' day of action.
Here’s some of what People’s Action member groups have in store:
Sen. Mike Crapo will get a visit – and a protest – from United Vision for Idaho.
Citizen Action of Illinois, One Northside, allies, and 5,000 signers will petition Gov. Rauner at a Medical Emergency: Rally to Save the ACA.
New Jersey Citizen Action, New Jersey Organizing Project, and friends will be rallying, holding vigils, and speaking with media throughout the state.
Citizen Action of New York and allies are holding a vigil to save our care in Albany, as well as field hearings around the state.
In Ohio, Progress Ohio joins SEIU, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and Innovation Ohio for a health care field hearing.
Keystone Progress will join forces with Lancaster Stands Up for a Stand up for Health Care rally in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Rights and Democracy Vermont will rally for Medicaid in Vermont.
There will be a eulogy and die-in at Sen. Ron Johnson’s office, organized by Citizen Action of Wisconsin/ Acción Ciudadana de Wisconsin.
Progressive Maryland’s Beth Landry, a health care provider, will join MoveOn, UltraViolet, SEIU and others at a rally in D.C.
Look out for more groups with events in the works – and under wraps: Tennessee Citizen Action, Virginia Organizing, PUSH Buffalo, VOCAL NY, and others.
Join these and other health care events! And remember to keep the calls, office visits and heat on your senators.
We need to all come together and make sure our lawmakers move to “no” and stay there, no matter what inducements Mitch McConnell dangles in front of them.
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