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Now pay attention, dammit!


This is the week that Mitch McConnell plans to cram the Republicans' repeal of the Affordable Care Act through the Senate. Sure, almost everyone hates it, and enough Republican senators have already said they'd vote against a motion to proceed to debate that it should be dead. The Senate's parliamentarian has said several parts of the ACA replacement, the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," can't be passed with a simple majority, and would either need to be taken out (thus killing the bill) or subject to Democratic filibuster (also thus killing the bill). Yet there's no guarantee that the effort really is dead, at least not until McConnell finally says the thing is good and done (and even then, it would be a bad idea to believe him). Ben Wikler, the Washington director of MoveOn, posted an excellent, sobering, even frightening discussion of why this week would be a really bad time for opponents of TrumpCare to take their eyes off the ball. (It takes up over fifty posts in Twitter format, so we'll take the liberty of copypasting, and only linking to the start of each consecutive group of tweets we quote.)

The first big tell is Tuesday morning, when Republicans need 50+1 votes to start final debate on... something bad, don't know what yet. Nobody knows how Tuesday's vote will go. I have a sinking feeling. As do others. Need constant, maximal pressure. Call: 202-224-3121 [...] If Capito Heller OR Murkowski commit to voting against Motion to Proceed, it'll either fail—or McConnell will delay it again. ¿Unlikely?

Have you called your senators yet? Get on that -- or call 'em again. If your own senator isn't wavering one way or the other, DO NOT call another senator pretending to live in their state; instead, use the information at this Indivisible Chicago page to call voters in states where pressure is needed and urge them to call their senators.

Also, Wikler reminds us of some procedural stuff to keep an eye on:

If McConnell votes FOR the motion to proceed but it FAILS, he can't bring it up again and you can exhale. [That's] very unlikely. Leaders nearly always switch their votes to "nay" so they're voting w majority and reserve right to bring back up.

DC believes that if McConnell loses MTP vote on Tue, it's over. But DC has thought it was over repeatedly. Color me skeptical. McConnell is telling senators that voting AGAINST MTP is equiv of saying they support Obamacare. Plus pressure, buyoffs, etc. He may win. If the Rs win the Motion to Proceed, we enter 20 hours of debate. Surreally, that's all the debate we'll get on Trumpcare.

At that point we'll need a HUGE wave of pressure. Normally a Motion to Proceed vote is preview of final vote. We'll already have lost it. In this case, though, the MTP isn't necessarily a preview of final vote because we won't know what the final bill will be. So TURN IT UP. Tue-Wed, we'll have 10 hours of R speeches, 10 hours of D speeches, furious dealmaking, & (your job) mega public outrage.

The "debate" -- all 20 hours of it, with no hearings, no expert testimony -- would be followed by a "vote-o-rama" on amendments, where Rs and Ds offer an unlimited number of amendments, each of which gets a one-minute speech from each side and then a 10-minute vote. If Senate Dems bring in thousands of amendments, they could delay a final vote, at least until either the parliamentarian says they can't anymore, or McConnell changes the rules. Once that's over, then there's this perfectly legal fuckery, which is exactly the sort of heinous fuckery most foul we'd expect from McConnell:

Yes, you read that right. After all the debates and phone calls and protests and very specific arguments made by the president in favor of the draft bill, the Majority Leader can nuke everything and slip in a last-minute bill that replaces everything, and that's the bill. Greatest deliberative body in the world, folks. Wikler continues:

Everything we've all been doing -- millions of us calling, marching, sitting in, fighting for months on end -- comes down to what a few Rs do. In a series of moments, each a second or two long, a handful of Republican senators will vote yay or nay—death or life for untold 1000s. Everything will go from fast fwd to, in that moment, slow motion, as we watch the ground truth that we've been guessing, trying to shape. And then the world will snap back into focus -- the GOP will have failed, or succeeded. If it failed, we celebrate. If the Senate vote succeeds, we are in an extremely dark place with very little time and very little hope. We fight on anyway.

If the Senate votes yes on Trumpcare, it's very likely that the House votes the bill through intact & with mind-blowing speed. If we reach the point of a House vote, it's worth every possible Hail Mary to try to stop it. Go to your local R office immediately. If the House passes it, Trump will sign it. Things will start getting worse very quickly for a lot of people. Insurance market meltdown.

That... could all happen this week. How do we prevent that?

Yes. We are reaching for the scotch. Please tell us what we do! Happily, we are not without options. The main thing, says Wikler, is to fight like hell to keep the Motion to Proceed from passing Tuesday morning. For folks who are in DC or can make it there today (Monday), there'll be a Die In on Capitol Hill at 5:30 PM Eastern. If you can help pack the Senate galleries Monday and Tuesday, Wikler has instructions for getting a pass here. There are also events today in Anchorage, Alaska; Reno, Nevada; and Martinsburg, West Virginia, to tell Senators Murkowski, Heller, and Capito to do the right thing and shut this damned thing down. Other protests around the country are detailed here.

Tuesday, a march and rally by disability advocates will be held in DC; and rallies held Wednesday by Planned Parenthood in DC and nationwide. And then? Depends on whether that Motion to Proceed passes:

And regardless of which ways the vote goes, there will be "Our Lives Are On The Line" demonstrations nationwide this Saturday, July 29.

OK, kids. We've copied most of Ben Wikler's stuff here, but for more information on activism and what you can do, follow him on the Twitter box and review his thread and the replies here. Don't let these bastards get away with what they're up to. That Senate switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Let's get to work.

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[Ben Wikler on Twitter / Phone Bank From Home / Our Lives Are On The Line]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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