Here's How We Kill the Senate's Trumpcare Bill

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Here's How We Kill the Senate's Trumpcare Bill

"Our healthcare is a basic human right. Are you ready to fight back for basic human rights?" asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at a rally on Wedsnesday. (Photo: TwitPic/@NWLC)

What's in this “new” TrumpCare bill?

After weeks of total secrecy, this morning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the Senate TrumpCare bill. And what a cruel, ugly bill it is. It guts Medicaid, it increases health costs for the middle-class, it cuts coverage for pre-existing conditions, it eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood...and it does this all in order to greenlight a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires.

But this isn't over yet. Senate Republicans don’t have the votes...at least, not yet. If we peel off just 3 Senators, we win. We have time to fight back, and it doesn’t matter if you have a Republican or Democratic Senator -- you are needed in this fight. We’ve got three ways to fight back:

How the TrumpCare fight will play out

Senate Republicans have promised a vote by the end of next week. But there are still several steps between now and passage of TrumpCare. Here’s how the former congressional staff at Indivisible think the fight will unfurl:

  • Tomorrow, we’ll get a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score, which will quantify exactly how many millions of Americans will be screwed by this bill and in what ways
  • On Monday or Tuesday, Republicans will officially announce the vote is happening by the end of the week and start debate on “the bill,” which is a fake bill intended to make it look like they’re being transparent but in reality is a trick to hide just how awful their finished product will be
  • Over the next couple days, Senators will submit amendments
  • On Thursday, the Senate will plan to vote on the legislation, but first they will vote on all submitted amendments (known as “vote-a-rama”)
  • At the last possible minute, Senate Republicans will replace the entire bill they just got finished “debating” with an alternative TrumpCare bill secretly crafted behind closed doors
  • By end of Thursday, there will be a final vote in the Senate
  • As soon as Friday, the House may then pass the legislation and send it to Trump to sign. This could take longer, but this is the worst case scenario and quite possible.
  • On Friday, one week of congressional recess begins. They’ll either have the bill done by Friday, or they’ll have to wait another week.

Throughout this process there will be precisely zero public hearings in the Senate. Make no mistake, this is a historically partisan, secretive, and undemocratic process for one of the largest pieces of legislation of our generation. This is atrocious.

Got a Democratic Senator? Help them Filibuster-By-Amendment or Withhold Consent

If you’ve got a Democratic Senator, you’ve still got work to do. As mentioned above, one of the final stages of the TrumpCare bill is a little-known process known as “vote-a-rama” where ANY Senator can submit as many amendments as he or she wants. And here’s the thing: EVERY amendment takes time to be introduced and voted on. We’re collecting THOUSANDS of amendments and submitting them directly to Senate staff.

Please please please: submit your amendments here, and get your friends and family members to submit amendments. We know this is working already. Senators are reading these amendments on the Senate floor. But we need thousands more.

Your Democratic Senator can also slow down Senate business, in part by “withholding consent.” The rules of the Senate are so complicated that Senators have to regularly consent to waiving some of them so that they can actually get work done. That includes shortening time for debates, expediting consideration of amendments, and scheduling committees. Your Senator can slow the Senate down to a crawl and focus attention to TrumpCare by withholding his or her consent on legislative business.

This is about applying your constituent power directly to the process. These tactics can delay the bill and make it more politically painful for Republicans to move forward. It’s not a silver bullet -- McConnell and Senate Republicans can still blow up Senate rules and cut off the amendment process. But to do that they’ll have to go on the record literally silencing the victims of TrumpCare in their own states, which they really don’t want to visibly do.

Got a Republican Senator? Time to fight like hell.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose 2 Senate Republicans and still pass this monstrosity. We have it on good authority that 2 are already VERY close to “no.” We are painfully close to defeating this bill. We need one more, and that’s the ball game.

That means now—literally right nowis the time for to amp up your pressure. All you need to pressure your Republican Senators, including DAILY scripts and new materials, is on our TrumpCareTen.org website. It’s critical that you’re showing up and that when you’re not showing up, you’re calling your Senators every single day.

Want to attend a TrumpCare sit-in?

Indivisible groups are coordinating sit-ins in our ten Republican target states.  As Senators continue to hide from their constituents, doing fewer town halls and shunning public appearances, these events provide a much needed opportunity to bring constituents concerns directly to them. Providing people a venue to share healthcare stories in the district offices of the Senators is great direct communication, and can be great fodder for negative local press, which Senators hate. These sit-ins also show the broad breadth of the resistance to these bills; this isn’t just a concern in liberal enclaves, this thing is universally reviled. There are events all over each state, so take a look here to find one near you. The list will continue to update through next week.

This is it.

We are under no illusions that victory is assured here, but victory is possible. Every member of Congress voting on this bill will eventually have to get your vote to be reelected. That’s the source of your constituent power. That’s what makes them responsive to pressure. Remember in March when Paul Ryan embarrassingly called off his first TrumpCare vote? That happened because of public pressure. That happened because of you.

We’re not going down without a fight. Let’s stand stand indivisible again. Let’s win this.

Leah Greenberg

Leah Greenberg is co-author of the Indivisible Guide. Follow her on Twitter: @Leahgreenb

Ezra Levin

Ezra Levin is Executive Director of the Indivisible Project. Follow him on Twitter: @ezralevin

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