A guest post by Coffee Shop Rabbi
Yesterday Ben Wickler, the Washington director of MoveOn.org published a long thread on Twitter that I think is so important I’m going to post a paraphrase of it.
He makes a lot of suggestions. If all you can do is 1-3, do it. If you can add 4 and 5, good! (I’m going to.) And every one after that is good, too. I’m in a state with two Democratic Senators who have been loud in their denunciation of TrumpCare already, so I will concentrate on 4-6. I invite you to join me.
OK, here’s what Mr. Wickler suggests. Your access to health care, and that of your neighbors, may depend on taking his advice in the next two weeks:
The progress of TrumpCare in the Senate is reaching a critical point.
The GOP leadership in the Senate plans to pass a bill very quickly, bypassing all the usual hearings and safeguards.
We have time to protest, but VERY LITTLE TIME. They plan to pass this monster by the end of the month.
They plan to send the bill to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO,) sight unseen by the public, by this coming Tuesday, June 13. Negotiations on the bill are nearly over. What has leaked out about it is horrific.
When they get the bill back from the CBO, the plan is to fast-track it to the Senate floor. That means no filibuster. No discussion.
The week of June 26, the score will come out, the bill will be made public, the public will scream, and they’ll grit their teeth & pass it. No town halls, no public discussion, no hearings with experts or people affected, NOTHING. Just the vote.
What Wickler hears from the Hill is that they have already come close to the votes to do this.
Unlike the House vote, where most people only saw what was happening in the final 48 hours, we have 3 weeks to stop this bill.
1. PHONE CALLS – Senate offices are back to normal in the number of phone calls they receive from constituents. We must light up the phones with our feelings about TrumpCare.
2. Put this number on speed dial, if you haven’t already: 202-224-2131.
3. Tell your calendar or Siri or whatever you do for reminders to make a call to Congress DAILY at that number.
4. Don’t just call your Senator. Recruit callers. Type “Friends in Tennessee” to Facebook. Remind them to call Senator Lamar Alexander.
5. Do the same for these Senators:
6. Call friends in TN WV LA ME TN AR AZ CO SC NV AK & OH! Get in touch & ask ’em to call Congress re Trumpcare. They can be Democrats, Republicans or Independents – we’re all going to be hurt by the bill in the Senate now. Ask them to remind their Senators about the issues they care about: pre-existing conditions, seniors, medicare, whatever.
7. Go a step further: when you call a Senator’s office, ask to speak to the Health Staffer. Here are their names:
8. These staffers are human beings. They work on health care because they care about health. Even if their bosses don’t. Tell your story. What we want is for health staffers to be telling their bosses that they’ve spent all day with the phone from freaked-out constituents.
9. Another step further: Ask the health staffer for a meeting before the vote with state staffers (or in DC, if you can come). Promise to bring a group. Bring a ton of people. Contact @MoveOn for help in putting a group together.
10. EMAIL the health staffers with your personal story. You can figure out their email addresses thusly: Staffer1stName.stafferLastname@SenatorLastName.senate.gov.
11. If you don’t get the meeting, no problem. You can still recruit a group & show up at Senators’ offices. Time to break out the signs.
12. Find the letters to the editor submission email address for local papers in your state & send them your story, mentioning your Senator.
Wickler concludes with this (quoting him, not paraphrasing here):
Finally, a Jewish note from me:
We are commanded: “Do not profit by the blood of your fellow [human being.]” In other words, save tax dollars on something else, not health care.