UPDATE July 17. On the night of July 15, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the vote would be postponed because Arizona Republican Senator John McCain needs minor surgery:
“Mr. McConnell had said that he wanted to begin debate on the bill and pass it this week, using special fast-track procedures. But without Mr. McCain, Senate Republicans would not have the votes they need to take up or pass their bill to repeal and replace major provisions of the health care act that was the signature domestic achievement of President Barack Obama.
It was unclear how long the delay will be. “The leader has not announced a date” for the Senate to take up the legislation, said an aide to Mr. McConnell. “Just that we will defer.”
McCain had the surgery, which removed a blood clot above his left eye, on Saturday, July 15. According to the article, his doctors have advised him to stay in Arizona and recover. The only thing resembling a time frame that’s mentioned in the NYT piece is that McCain was advised to rest ‘this week.’
McCain’s absence will indeed prevent a vote for at least a few days. McConnell needs every last GOP senator’s support if the bill is to move ahead. The loss of McCain will in fact force him to pause, albeit temporarily. So, yes, this is a minor, brief reprieve.
That said, McConnell will want to keep the pause as short as possible for another reason cited in the article:
“Mr. McCain’s absence will give the forces of opposition — which include scores of health care provider organizations and patient advocacy groups — more time to mobilize.”
Which brings us to another point. Are you in Washington, D.C.? Are you near enough to it for a day trip? If so please go to the People’s Filibuster to Stop Trumpcare, scheduled for today, Monday July 17, starting at 2 pm EST at the U.S. Capitol and continuing right through to Tuesday, July 18 at 5 pm.
Like the People’s Filibuster to Stop Trumpcare on Facebook (clicking the ‘interested’ button helps the cause):
Our friends at Indivisible are planning nationwide #KillTheBill events for Tuesday, July 18. See this link to find a protest near you:
…If you can’t make a July 18 protest, work the #KillTheBill hashtag on social media for all it’s worth.
Also of interest: America’s governors met in Rhode Island last week and the verdict is –they hate the AHCA. Republicans and Democrats alike. The Republicans stopped short of issuing a bipartisan condemnation but we might have an update soon that reflects the anti-AHCA concerns of a smaller group of governors who feel the need to act independently:
And we should clarify: What McConnell is looking to do is get votes for a motion to proceed. This is not the actual vote on the bill. It’s a table-setting vote that allows them to move toward an actual vote on the bill. The fact that McConnell can’t even get this table-setter rolling is good news.
What else does all this mean for you?
You need to keep the pressure up.
We can’t afford to slack while McConnell is frozen in place.
Keep beating the drum.
If your senators are solid Dems, call and thank them for standing firm against the AHCA.
If your senators are Republicans, call call call call call and make it damn clear that you are against the AHCA and you will vote for their opponents come reelection time.
It’s especially important to call if any of these people are your senators:
Susan Collins of Maine (she is a firm no. Thank her.)
Rand Paul of Kentucky (he is a firm no, because the bill isn’t harsh enough for his tastes. Thank him but stress why you oppose it.)
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Rob Portman of Ohio
Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
Cory Gardner of Colorado
Dean Heller of Nevada
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
John Hoeven of North Dakota
Mike Lee of Utah
John McCain of Arizona
Bob Corker of Tennessee
Jerry Moran of Kansas
Ben Sasse of Nebraska
This updated list is per a handy Washington Post piece titled Where Senate Republicans Stand on the New Health-Care Bill:
See https://trumpcaretoolkit.org for phone numbers and tweetable statistics about health care coverage loss in these senators’ states.
Not following Topher Spiro on Twitter? He’s all over Trumpcare and will have news first. See his tweets here:
Another good person to follow is Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act under Obama. His Twitter handle is:
Lastly, Ben Wikler, Washington, D.C. director at MoveOn, is all over the anti-Trumpcare protests. He’ll know what’s happening first. Follow him here: