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A sign at the stakeout targeting Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. (Photo: @doglouse/Twitter)

Home District 'Stakeouts' Begin as TrumpCare Advances in Congress

'Because of strong opposition from constituents recently, including at intense and packed town hall meetings, GOP leaders are in a bind'

Deirdre Fulton

The GOP's healthcare plan narrowly passed out of the House Budget Committee on Thursday, while "stakeouts" began in Congressional home districts aimed at pressuring lawmakers to vote against the widely unpopular legislation.

Three right-wing Republicans on the committee, Reps. Dave Brat (Va.), Mark Sanford (S.C.), and Gary Palmer (Ala.), voted against advancing the American Healthcare Act (AHCA)—but their opposition was not enough to stymie the plan. Now, the bill heads to the House Rules Committee, "where leadership might make amendments to appease conservatives and moderates unhappy with the current legislation," The Hill reported. A full House vote could come as early as next week. 

And so the resistance must act fast, hence this week's "Congressional Stakeouts to Save Healthcare," organized by MoveOn.org and taking place outside the district offices of nine Republican senators and more than two dozen Republican representatives who "hold the decisive votes" on AHCA.

"By holding vigil outside the offices of key Republicans who hold the decisive votes on 'TrumpCare,' MoveOn members will ensure that anyone coming in or out of the office—staff, visitors, and the members of Congress themselves—will face their constituents and hear our health care stories, our songs, our hopes, our anger, and our cheer," said Victoria Kaplan, organizing director for MoveOn.org.

"Passing this repeal bill is the GOP's top legislative priority—but because of strong opposition from constituents recently, including at intense and packed town hall meetings, GOP leaders are in a bind," she continued. "If millions of MoveOn members and activists nationwide mobilize—by showing up at Congressional offices, making phone calls, and sharing our healthcare stories—we can prevent this bill from ever becoming law."

The targeted lawmakers are:

Senators:

  • Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
  • Tom Cotton (Ark.)
  • Jeff Flake (Ariz.)
  • Cory Gardner (Colo.)
  • Bill Cassidy (La.)
  • Susan Collins (Maine)
  • Dean Heller (Nev.)
  • Rob Portman (Ohio)
  • Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)

Representatives:

  • Martha McSally (Ariz.)
  • David Valdao (Calif.)
  • Ed Royce (Calif.)
  • Darrell Issa (Calif.)
  • Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.)
  • Mimi Walters (Calif.)
  • Jeff Denham (Calif.)
  • Steve Knight (Calif.)
  • Carlos Curbelo (Fla.)
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.)
  • Peter Roskam (Ill.)
  • Kevin Yoder (Kan.)
  • Erik Paulsen (Minn.)
  • Leonard Lance (N.J.)
  • John Katko (N.Y.)
  • Elise Stefanik (N.Y.)
  • Patrick Meehan (Pa.)
  • Ryan Costello (Pa.)
  • Pete Sessions (Texas)
  • Will Hurd (Texas)
  • John Culberson (Texas)
  • Barbara Comstock (Va.)
  • Dave Reichert (Wash.)

The stakeouts had begun as of Thursday afternoon.

And with additional town hall meetings planned for this weekend, legislators are likely to get an earful over the next few days—much like Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price did during a CNN town hall on Wednesday night.

"Medicaid expansion saved my life and saved me from medical bankruptcy," colon cancer survivor Brian Kline of Pennsylvania said to Price during the televised session. "Now, I earn $11.66 an hour at my retail job. And obviously, I cannot afford to pay for my cancer care out of pocket. My life really depends on having access to my doctors and medical care. Getting a cancer diagnosis is bad enough. But Medicaid expansion gives me the economic security in knowing that funding is always going to be there for my cancer care. So my question for you, Secretary Price, is pretty straightforward: Why do you want to take away my Medicaid expansion?"

Price responded: "The fact of the matter is, we don't. We don't want to take care away from anybody. What we want to make certain, though, is that every single American has access to the kind of coverage and care that they want for themselves."

Kline said later that he didn't think the secretary had answered his question.

Watch the exchange:

Another attendee zeroed in on the plan's attempt to defund Planned Parenthood:


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