The ACA is the law of the land (for now).
If you have enjoyed my first two posts because I’ve shared some personal feelings, I definitely don’t want to disappoint you with this one. So here I go again…
I feel great!
Also, I feel exhausted.
I had big plans to clip together some video highlights for you today, but the technology is just not willing to cooperate. I hope you enjoy pics and blurbs instead.
This morning I brought boxes of tea as tokens of appreciation to Senator Collins (Gratitude), Senator McCain (Presence) and Senator Murkowski (Positive Energy).
I’ve been very impressed with Lisa Murkowski’s staff. Yesterday, her Deputy Chief of Staff spent a couple hours with about 10 of us who were camped on the floor outside her office, talking healthcare. The two staff we could see inside were very busy answering phones, but whenever they had a minute brought us water and asked us if we needed anything. She has good people working for her, which reflects well on her.
I attended a rally on the lawn in front of the Capitol to celebrate the great work of ADAPT protesters at yesterday’s hearing (the rally took place before McConnell’s decision to end Graham-Cassidy). Senators Casey (PA), Hassan (NH), Schumer (NY), Booker (NJ), and Duckworth (IL) all came out to thank them. Senator Booker thanked them for throwing their bodies into the gears of the Republicans shady process. Senator Duckworth spoke about how disability rights activists once crawled up the steps of the Capitol, which paved the way for her to roll into the building today.
I found a die-in in one of the Senate office buildings. Approximately 8 protestors from Working Families Party blocked access to the Senator’s subway entrance by lying down and getting covered with white sheets. A woman from Impeachment Square (organizers of the recent march from Charlottesville to DC) lead easy to sing gospel hymns, with lyrics adapted to a healthcare message. The crowd of us sang along for about 10 minutes, before a larger crowd of Capitol police broke it up and arrested the protesters.
I knew that a decision on whether to hold a vote on Graham-Cassidy was likely following the Republican’s weekly conference lunch. I hurried back over to the Capitol building, hoping I might hear it straight from Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor. What I discovered is that watching from the gallery might be even more boring than watching on C-Span. There were only two Senators in the room, and I couldn’t see them at all. I sat for a while, thinking it might get interesting. After talking to an empty room about Puerto Rico, Senator Markey (MA) mentioned the news that a Graham-Cassidy vote would not be happening. Its easy to imagine a time when this news would have broken on the floor of the Senate. Instead, I felt like the last person in DC to hear the news, and took off to find my phone and learn more.
Another rally took place on the lawn in front of the Capitol, with speakers from about a dozen groups that have been involved in the fight to kill this bill. The tone was victorious, although everybody realized that the fight will continue. One speaker summed it up well by saying “we bought ourselves a weekend to celebrate.” Senator Schumer (NY) and Senator Schatz (HI) addressed the crowd, as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Chuck and Nancy each had a heckler urging them to sign on the Bernie’s Medicare for All bill. It was an interesting scene to watch how they pivoted in those awkward moments.
With ACA repeal back in the waste bin, here is my plan for tomorrow:
1) Sleep in. Or at least be lazy in the morning.
2) Plan for a visit to Congressman Tom McClintock’s office on Thursday to make my expectations clear for his next steps on healthcare
3) Go see dinosaurs at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum