Tell Democrats: Shut down the senate to stop Trumpcare
Closed door negotiations. Secret bills. Cancelled town halls.
It is not surprising that Senate Republicans are going to such extreme lengths to jam through Trumpcare. Trumpcare is cruel, reckless, dangerous and unpopular. It will take health insurance away from 23 million people, destroy Medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood, increase health care premiums for seniors, force low-income people to go without necessary care and punish people with pre-existing conditions.
Senate Democrats know Republicans are playing games to try to pass their deadly Trumpcare bill, but they are not doing enough to stop it. If Democrats do not act soon, and with every legislative tool available, to fight back against Mitch McConnell’s attempt to ram Trumpcare through the Senate, it will be too late. It is time for them to do everything they can to shine a light on what Republicans are doing and throw sand in the gears of their plans.
Republicans can only afford to lose two votes in the Senate. Their leaders know that the more scrutiny there is of their heartless bill and the cowardly tactics they are using to try to pass it, the harder it will be to get so-called moderate Republicans to sign on. They also know that the longer they keep the bill secret, the harder it will be for us to mobilize opposition. That is why they are refusing to release drafts of the bill, hold public hearings or even move the bill through relevant committees.
Senate Democrats must do more to push back. Beyond denouncing Republicans’ backroom dealings, the only thing Democrats have offered is an inadequate legislation that has no chance passing in a Republican-controlled Congress. Democrats have more legislative leverage than simply introducing this message bill they have designed to get attention in the press. We have to speak out now to demand them to use that power.
Because Republicans are using reconciliation, they can ultimately pass whatever bill they want if they can get at least 50 members of their caucus to toe the line (and use Mike Pence to break the tie). But Democrats can slow the process down and make it much harder for Republicans to get to 50.
The first tool they have is withdrawing consent. Senate business can only move forward with unanimous consent. It only takes one senator to withhold consent, but once it is withheld, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have to go through many time-consuming steps to accomplish even the smallest piece of business. By publicly invoking such a dramatic tactic and dragging out the vote on Trumpcare, Democrats can focus attention on the bill’s extreme cruelty, the cowardly secrecy surrounding Republicans’ process and their radical departure from regular order.
If McConnell does bring Trumpcare to the floor for a vote, Democrats have another opportunity to slow things down. The final stage of a reconciliation vote, known as the vote-a-rama, allows for the introduction of unlimited amendments. By introducing amendments, Senate Democrats can effectively filibuster Trumpcare and stand up for the millions of people who will be hurt by it. It is the ultimate tool in their toolbox, and Democrats should use it when the time comes.
Progressive champion Sen. Jeff Merkley, who was the first senator to say he would filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, has already indicated he may be willing to withhold consent, but he cannot do it alone. It is up to us to make sure every Senate Democrat understands the gravity of the situation and what is required.
Originally published at act.credoaction.com.