We don’t usually start our weekly updates by quoting Paul Ryan, but this time he said it best: “Obamacare is the law of the land.”
On Friday, you achieved something no one imagined was possible: you stopped Trump and Paul Ryan from taking health care away from millions of Americans. They thought it would be easy—but then you showed up.
An insider’s account of how you defeated Trump’s top legislative priority. As former congressional staff, we can tell you exactly how this went down. Trump and Ryan were in a bind. With no Democratic support, they needed to pass a bill that would satisfy both the extreme right and the purple-state Republicans. Your constituent power, asserted week after week over the last few months, ultimately made this political calculus impossible.
Your relentless constituent pressure ensured that TrumpCare was deeply unpopular before it was even introduced. That unpopularity made it easy for the far-right Republicans to oppose the bill. Ryan and Trump needed those far-right votes, so they tried to offer more extreme concessions to win them over. Those extreme concessions spooked the purple-state Republicans, who started to bolt. Why? Because of intense pressure from their constituents (i.e. YOU). Suddenly, the bill was losing votes from both the far-right and the purple-state Republicans. In a matter of days, the congressional coalition behind Trump’s top legislative priority simply collapsed. TrumpCare was toast.
TrumpCare was terrible, but terrible legislation passes all the time. The difference this time was that you were organized and determined. You mounted a sustained, nationwide resistance that broke the will of the Republican caucus and derailed Trump’s agenda. Politics is the art of the possible, and you changed what was possible. You stood indivisible and it worked—and people will literally live longer, healthier lives as a result.
So What’s Next?
The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) survival is a big blow to Trump, but, unfortunately, he isn’t done yet—he’s still got a long list of atrocious policy priorities that he’s trying to get through Congress next. So we’ve still got work to do. Here’s what’s coming up next:
- Keep your Members of Congress (MoCs) accountable on health care. Got some time today? Just because there was no vote doesn’t mean your MoC doesn’t need constituent feedback. Visit your MoC’s local office and let them know how you feel about their stance (or lack thereof) on TrumpCare. And let them know that you’re going to keep watching out for any new attacks on the ACA down the road. While Trump and Ryan have retreated “for the foreseeable future” (to quote Ryan again), this fight may not be over—stay tuned for more resources you can use to keep defending the ACA over the next congressional recess and beyond.
- Protect the Supreme Court for decades to come: no cloture on #SupremelyExtreme Gorsuch. Last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Neil Gorsuch were more of the same for the Trump administration: an extreme nominee attempting to defend his record of standing with corporate power instead of the American people. To ensure Gorsuch doesn’t roll back civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights, and many other rights for years to come, we need the Senate to show some serious spine.
- The important vote for Gorsuch is the “cloture” vote. Voting for “cloture” means voting to cut off debate and end a filibuster. This vote requires 60 votes to succeed, which means Senate Republicans CAN’T win this on their own—they don’t have enough votes. Ask your Senator (regardless of party) to vote “NO on cloture” for Gorsuch—check out our newly updated script on this here.
- Keep the pressure on Congress to force the release of Trump’s tax returns. On Tuesday at 4 p.m., the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a markup on H.Res. 186, a Resolution of Inquiry directing the Secretary of the Treasury to provide the House of Representatives with Trump’s tax returns. Tell your MoC to cosponsor this resolution: here’s the script.
- Shed some sunlight on Trump’s Russia ties. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) thinks he can get away with moving hearings behind closed doors. It’s clear that he can’t be trusted to lead an unbiased investigation. Tell your MoCs that it’s time to take Nunes off the case and put the investigation in the hands of a nonpartisan, independent commission, in full view of the American people.
- Tell your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 356, the Protecting our Democracy Act, which would create a special commission to investigate Russian interference into our elections.
- Tell your Senator to cosponsor S. 27, which would similarly create an independent commission to investigate Russian interference in our democratic institutions.
- Protect Americans’ privacy from corporate greed. Last week, while many of us were focused on defending health care, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans passed S.J. Res. 34 on a narrow, party-line vote. This bill would block the Federal Communications Commission from regulating large internet service providers (think Comcast) in their efforts to sell the troves of information they gather about you without your consent. The House is poised to vote on this measure, H.J. Res. 86, this week. Call your MoC and tell them to protect your privacy and side with ordinary people over powerful corporate interests. Here’s the script.
Resist the Trump agenda—and sound smart at barbecues
Our latest explainer on the legislative process covers appropriations: the process by which Congress decides how the government spends money. If you’ve been wondering about Trump’s appalling budget proposal and whether he can really get away with cutting things like PBS, here’s a great place to start: Legislative Process 101—Appropriations (or “Keeping the Lights On”).
Get ready for recess
You did amazing work over February’s congressional recess, and we can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next! You’ll get a chance to show off your skills and creativity again from April 8–23. Now is the time to start asking your MoCs when they’re planning to hold town halls during the upcoming recess. If they refuse to tell you, check out our Missing Members of Congress Action Plan, which shows you how to take control of the situation. And we’re busy putting together exciting new recess resources that will be ready for you next week!
Last week’s victory was so important—and not only because you saved the ACA, but also because you proved without a doubt that standing indivisible works. Last week we stood indivisible, and we won. And we’re just getting started.
The Indivisible Team