This is not a drill—Republicans are once again close to passing their awful TrumpCare bill. (Take a minute to scream, we did.) This time they’re calling it the Graham-Cassidy bill, but it’s as bad as all of their previous attempts. If you have a Democratic Senator, then it means they’ve publicly committed to voting against TrumpCare. That’s great—but it’s not nearly good enough. This is a do-or-die moment on the ACA and your Democratic Senator should be doing everything they can to stop this bill from getting through the Senate. Here’s how they can really play hardball to defeat TrumpCare.
The window for Republicans to get TrumpCare through is closing. The Senate parliamentarian has ruled that Republicans must pass their TrumpCare by September 30, meaning that Democrats can use hardball tactics to try to run out the clock. We need to slow Republicans way down in order to keep Republicans from jamming this through the Senate.
Democrats aren’t in control, but they can still resist. They need to slow down Senate business in order to run out the clock on TrumpCare. Here’s how:
Resist through procedure. Your Democratic Senator can slow down Senate business through a combination of filibustering and “withholding consent.” The rules of the Senate are so complicated that Senators have to regularly consent to waiving some of them so that they can actually get work done. That includes shortening time for debates, expediting consideration of amendments, and scheduling committees. Your Senator can slow the Senate down to a crawl and focus attention to TrumpCare by withholding his or her consent on legislative business.
Your Senator might act like they can’t do this out of some unspoken rule of Senate courtesy. But this is no ordinary time in the Senate—we have to pull out all the stops to stop TrumpCare.
SAMPLE CALL DIALOGUE: WITHHOLD CONSENT
Caller: Hello! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [place in state]. Am I correct that [Senator] opposes TrumpCare, the American Health Care Act?
Staffer: Yes! [Senator] is totally opposed.
Caller: I’m glad to hear that. Can you tell me what [Senator] has done so far to oppose it?
Staffer: Sure. [Senator] gave a speech on the floor recently that talked about the bill’s impact in our state. She’s listened to many constituents and heard their personal stories. She’s encouraged her colleagues to let us read the bill or have hearings on it. And yesterday she did an epic tweet storm.
Caller: I’m afraid it’s going to take more than talk and tweet storms to stop this terrible bill. We have to slow this process way down and call attention to the terrible bill Republicans are trying to jam through in total darkness. We have to use every tool available. Does [Senator] intend to withhold her consent on all Senate business until this bill dead?
Staffer: Withholding consent doesn’t actually buy us that much time. It would only delay things by 30 hours.
Caller: I’m not just talking about refusing to agree on shortening debate time on TrumpCare or other bills. I’m talking about withholding consent on amendments, placing holds on nominations, and objecting to all unanimous consent requests until the reconciliation instructions expire?. Will the [Senator] do that?
Staffer: Well, [Senator] thinks that could backfire. We’re trying to work together with Republicans on other important issues, like investigating Russian interference in our democracy. Withholding consent could make that more difficult.
Caller: Of course we want to know more about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. But millions of Americans’ healthcare, including [coverage loss in state, find here] is important too. That’s what’s at stake. This is the most important thing right now and the issue the Senator needs to be focusing on. I don’t think anything else is worth healthcare getting ripped away from millions of Americans.
Staffer: I’ll let [Senator] know your thoughts.
Caller: Please do. I expect her to use every tool she has. That also includes offering as many amendments as it takes to draw out Senate debate on this bill during vote-a-rama.