The Fight Against the Health Care Repeal Isn't Over: And 2 Other Big Activism Causes This Week

The GOP’s latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act may have failed Monday night, but as Merrick Garland and the not-so-old adage I just made up would say, never bet against Mitch McConnell.


Activists aren’t taking any chances, continuing the series of protests, sit-ins, social media campaigns, and other advocacy efforts they were planning after the announcement that Senator John McCain’s unexpected surgery would delay the vote. The delay does leave more breathing room for additional updates, including progress on bail reform in Chicago, and the ongoing fight to protect immigration. Here’s what’s going on this week.

The Health Care Bill That Won’t Die

“The message from the public is overwhelming. The American people do not want this repeal bill to pass,” MoveOn.org’s Ben Wikler said during a press call on Monday. He continued, “This is the moment for Republicans who are listening to their constituents to come out against it and kill this process rather than continue this charade.”

As AlterNet reported earlier, Indivisible, also not taking any chances, went ahead with its National Day of Action to Kill the Bill, which includes more than 160 events at Senate offices in Washington, D.C., and across the country.

Members of an Alaska Indivisible group, according to a spokeswoman, were waiting for a meeting with Senator Lisa Murkowski outside her office just as Murkowski announced her opposition to the bill.

To make sure women’s health is protected in whatever bill comes next, Planned Parenthood is holding a Pink Out on Wednesday evening at the Capitol, along with 100 sister rallies across the country.

“We'll have more than 20 Adopt A State phone banks set up to call key senators this week,” explained Deirdre Schifeling, national director of organizing and campaigns at Planned Parenthood. “We'll have stop-and-dial crowd canvasses in key states where volunteers will attend large community events and ask people to stop and dial their senators right on the spot.”

The emphasis will be on personal experiences and connections. As Schifeling put it, “the only way to stop this disastrous bill is to keep speaking out and speaking up.”

Protecting Immigrants Across America

National immigration advocacy organization United We Dream is creating a national network for anyone concerned about the Trump administration’s myriad threats to immigration. To stay informed and get involved in advocacy efforts in your area, join United We Dream’s #HereToStay network. Organizers will send text alerts with a variety of actions, from stopping individual deportations and raids to advocating for bills and policies to protect immigrants’ rights.

The danger to undocumented immigrants is readily apparent, but even legal immigration is under attack. According to a Politico report, Trump plans to support a bill from senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) that if successful, “would by 2027, slash in half the number of legal immigrants entering the country each year, according to four people familiar with the conversations. Currently, about 1 million legal immigrants enter the country annually; that number would fall to 500,000 over the next decade.”

Fight to End Money Bond and Pretrial Detention in Chicago

Too many Americans remain in jail prior to their trials simply because they cannot afford bail. In Cook County, it’s the primary cause of pre-trial detention. The Chicago Community Bond Fund has been working since 2015 to fight this practice (74 people have been freed, with help from the fund) and on July 11, received what a press release called a “tentative victory” in its fight. 

Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans’ General Administrative Order 2017-05 instructs judges to:

1. Find out how much, if anything, someone accused of a crime could pay for bond;
2. Set bond only in that amount or less; and
3. Review all cases in which someone hasn't posted bond within seven days.

“If implemented well and followed by judges, the rule will dramatically decrease the number of people incarcerated in Cook County Jail (CCJ). Currently, 62 percent of people in CCJ are locked up only because they cannot post bonds. More than 4,000 people are being incarcerated pretrial at CCJ for being poor,” Matthew McLoughlin, co-founder of the Chicago Community Bond Fund, said in a statement.

McLoughlin emphasized that this rule is only the beginning: “While we celebrate this hard-fought win, we recognize that our movements must stay vigilant to ensure the new rule is fully enforced and no one is incarcerated because they are too poor to pay bond.”

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