Zombie Trumpcare Refuses to Die, but Protesters Are Just as Relentless
The morning routine: wake up, call Congress to beg for health care, shower, go to work. It's a demoralizing to-do list, but thanks to the GOP, Americans determined to protect their health care are going to continue this thankless dance a little longer.
On Tuesday afternoon, Republican senators voted to proceed with considering a bill that threatens to take away health care from 22 million Americans. Republicans were so eager to pass the Motion to Proceed, they even convinced John McCain to emerge from (government-funded, high-quality) cancer treatment to do so.
The protests and sit-ins started Tuesday morning, as activists interrupted the vote, yelling, “Don't kill us, kill the bill!" from the Senate gallery. As Vox’s Jeff Stein reported, Senator Rob Portman from Ohio tried to quiet them by banging a gavel, but the activists, from multiple groups including ADAPT, the Center for Popular Democracy, MoveOn and Indivisible, were undeterred.
There were multiple arrests, including 25 disabled activists, according to a report from Mic.com. Journalists tweeted that Capitol Hill staffers demanded they delete their videos and photos of protesters.
Reporters blocked from Senate halls where protesters being arrested, shouting, "Kill the bill!" Being told, "no photos. Delete your photos."— Jennifer Bendery (@Jennifer Bendery) 1501007776.0
Rather go to jail then die without Medicaid #ADAPTandRESIST https://t.co/HJBNhXnvwK— American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (@American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today) 1501009075.0
Almost immediately after the vote, Democratic senators found themselves in an increasingly familiar scene: on the Capitol steps, decrying the actions of Republican colleagues and promising to fight. Activists are already holding them to it.
“Grassroots groups know that constituent pressure has worked to stop TrumpcCare in the past," Indivisible co-executive director Leah Greenberg said in a statement, "and we’re not letting up until Trump and his accomplices in Congress stop trying to cruelly and irresponsibly rip health care from millions.”
"We know what's at stake is our basic humanity" In fiery speech on Capitol steps, Sen. Warren accuses Republican S… https://t.co/UO0j44OWSC— Jeff Stein (@Jeff Stein) 1501014878.0
ACLU national political director Faiz Shakir called the vote "a call to action," and added, "It is a procedural first step, but not the final hurdle. The ACLU remains ever vigilant, hyper alert, and keenly engaged over the coming days, urging our millions of supporters to speak out at any moment and against any attempt to take health coverage away from those in our society who need it the most.”
Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday's vote, activists were already planning July 29's Our Lives on the Line, a national day of action for Americans to tell their health care stories. Following the model of previous actions, there will be a large rally in Washington, D.C., with satellite events near local congressional offices across the country.
Indivisible also has a new tool for blue-state residents who have been thanking their senators, and are ready to do more. The tool allows users to make calls to progressive red-state residents, encouraging them to call their own senators and ask them to vote no on repeal. Once the person agrees, the tool patches directly through to senators' district offices.