What You Can Do Right Now If You Oppose Trumpcare

May 4th 2017

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act 217-213; the bill needed 216 votes to pass. This sends the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) to the Senate. As evidenced on Twitter, those who object to the bill—which contains many unpopular items—are already looking at next steps for the opposition: Calling your Senator.

But despite the victory President Donald Trump and House Republicans are claiming, the bill faces an uncertain future. In the Senate, the bill would need 60 votes to break a filibuster and pass, which is virtually impossible, given that Republicans control the Senate only 52-48 (and there could even be some Republican opposition to the bill). Also, in order to pass the current iteration of the bill in one fell swoop, Senate Republicans would have to pass the bill as—no changes, not even a comma, NPR points out. This is unlikely to happen, which both House and Senate members acknowledge. (The Senate bill would then go back to the House and they'll have to pass yet another bill.)

It is also possible, however, that the senators will be to try and pass the bill through reconciliation, a process tied to budgetary or debt-related bills that just needs a simple majority plus one to pass. (It also comes with its fair-share of rules and constraints, which you can read about here.)

With that in mind, on Thursday, activists, organizations, and politicians (including California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom) began urging people to call their senators and ask them to vote no on the bill. Several senators have already expressed their doubts about the bill, particularly the speed with which the House rammed it through.

After the 2016 election, ATTN: created a guide for how to reach out to their elected officials, and what to tell them when you do. 

  • Look up your Senator's contact information here, all you need is a zip code.
  • Make a plan to call them. Skip calling the D.C. office and call their state office instead, where you'll likely speak to a legislative staffer. But only call your Senator, not someone in another state, or Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. You aren't their constituent. 
  • Know what message you want to convey.
  • Be patient and kind: Senate staffers may not have every answer, but they will do their best to help you. They can take hundreds of calls in one day, but they're here to serve you.

Some on Twitter have also pointed out that calling Senators should not mark the end of calling House members as well. The actions of the Senate might depend on the reaction House members face, and the more backlash House members get, the more likely the Senate is to back off from the bill.

As for the bill's future, it's not clear when the Senate will take a vote. But there are already rumblings that the Senate intends to fundamentally alter, or even completely scrap, the text of the AHCA.

So no matter what happens, if you oppose the bill, the best route to take is to just keep calling. 

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