UPDATE — Your calls are working. Politico reports:
Democrats will grind Senate business to a halt in a protest against Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare.
Beginning Monday night, Democrats will start objecting to all unanimous consent requests in the Senate, according to a Democratic aide. They plan to control the floor of the chamber Monday night and try to force the House-passed health care bill to committee in a bid to further delay it.
Read this good Twitter thread by one of the Indivisible guys (former Congressional staffers, remember):
Got a Democratic Senator? Here’s how they can ACTUALLY PLAY HARDBALL on TrumpCare. Yes, they have tools to use. Yes, they can win. 1/
— Ezra Levin (@ezralevin) June 15, 2017
Essentially the Dems have to play “vote-o-rama” — in reconciliation, the process by which a spending bill bypasses the filibuster, the Dems offer as many amendments as possible to slow the vote down. It’s an ersatz filibuster, but it has to be active.
They can also withhold consent for any bit of Senate business. The price: Hold hearings and do this normally – let the bill see the light of day and scrutiny. That may well peel off some embarrassed GOP votes — which, of course, is why Svengali McConnell won’t allow it to happen.
Ed Markey’s numbers are 617-565-8519 and 202-224-2742. Elizabeth Warren’s are (617) 565-3170, (413) 788-2690, (202) 224-4543.
The whole process, if you can call it that, is truly bizarre. There must be some contemporary Kafka whose fiction can’t possibly compete with this brutal illogic. Read Vox’s very simple, direct, non-gotcha questions to GOP Senators and you quickly realize they have no idea about either a.) health care policy in general, or b.) the current bill under consideration, which they haven’t read, and they don’t know what’s in it or not in it. It’s a gutting display of brainwashed incuriosity and negligence:
Sometimes a senator could identify a desired outcome, like “lowering premiums” or “stabilizing marketplaces.” But they rarely could explain the mechanism through which they planned on achieving that outcome.
How will Republicans lower premiums? “It’s working together and coming up with a bill that does do that,” Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas said. What tool will bring stability to Obamacare’s volatile exchanges? “By bringing certainty to the insurance market,” Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said. What new policy will lead tax cuts to lower premiums? “It’s teetering because the exchanges are failing,” Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi explained.
They never had anything but talking points. They never did their homework. The lives of their constituents are not worth lifting a finger to understand what the bill does, nor asking questions in public, nor certainly challenging leadership.
Read it, and spread the word to people in GOP states. Shame them any way you can.