Healthcare activists aren’t about to let GOP Senators have a 4th of July recess without constant reminders of the impending struggle they face passing their Obamacare replacement bill in its current form.
“Republican senators have demonstrated that their number one goal in health care reform is avoiding any public interaction with their constituents,” Ben Wikler, the Washington director for the political advocacy group MoveOn told The Daily Beast in a phone interview.
That’s why progressive organizations like MoveOn, Our Revolution, Indivisible and CREDO, plan to make constant phone calls to senate offices, peaceful protests at their headquarters, and appearances at Independence Day parades, according to the Daily Beast.
They plan to keep on the Senators who have already expressed concerns about the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and to urge them to convince their colleagues to take a stand. And remind them their constituents won’t be happy when they lose coverage.
“The line that these senators need to draw is that they won’t vote for any bill that will throw people off their coverage,” Wikler said. “That’s why a bill that is essentially giant cuts to Medicaid to fund tax cuts for the wealthy is flawed to its core.”
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Jerry Moran of Kansas are the only two Senators scheduled to hold town halls, but groups also intend to target senators such as Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Shelley Moore Capito, who have all expressed dissatisfaction with the bill. The progressive left wants to be ready as senators begin reporting back to Washington.
“We’re operating under the assumption that Mitch McConnell wants to bring this up for a vote the first week back,” Angel Padilla, the policy director for the Indivisible Project, a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting the Trump agenda, said. “There’s the ghost of Paul Ryan that we want to make sure we don’t forget. This is what Mitch McConnell’s hoping for. He’s hoping that people’s attention will shift to something else.”
Padilla sees Paul Ryan’s ghost in nightmares, as the Senate’s initial failing to accrue the votes appears eerily similar to when Ryan failed to bring the House’s version of the bill to the floor in March, declaring Obamacare “the law of the land”, only to turn and see it narrowly passed in May with the left’s guard down.
“The same thing happened with the House bill. They pulled the bill and everyone was really excited. There was a huge let down. That’s why we’re ramping up so much for this recess break,” said communications director of Our Revolution Diane May.
From the left’s point of view, the longer senators spend dealing with phone calls, protests, and even personal pleading from constituents, the less time they have to make the backroom deals with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that GOPers in the House did with Ryan.
“In terms of when we’ll feel safe, my impression is that Mitch McConnell is going to bring this to a vote,” Padilla said. “If we get to a point where the bill gets to the floor, and we kill it then, that’s when I feel a lot of us might feel a little bit better about where we are.”
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