The Night They Drove Ole' Trumpcare Down...
There's been a little update since our last newsletter: you may have heard that three key senators sent the Trumpcare bill down in flames in a dramatic dead-of-night vote that has removed any feasible way forward for a GOP-lead ACA repeal.
Adding to the drama were the three senators above; Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and terminally ill John McCain of Arizona. Collins and Murkowski never blinked as they maintained their public commitment to vote "no" on any form of repeal. This despite direct threats from the Administration, some so blatant (in Murkowski's case) that some senators are calling for an investigation of the President's tactics; and threats of physical violence against them that included one Texas legislator threatening to challenge the senators to a duel and a Representative from Georgia who threatened less elegantly to "snatch a knot in their *ss." These threats heightened tensions in the lead up to the vote.
At this dramatic juncture, Arizona Senator McCain entered the scene last Tuesday, diagnosed just days earlier with an aggressive brain tumor but returning against doctor's orders for the high-profile vote to allow debate on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. (BCRA). The problem? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had refused to reveal the provisions of the bill to the senators, but wanted them to open debate despite this.
After receiving a standing ovation, McCain treated the American public to the bait-and-switch we've come to expect from him in recent years: a fiery speech exhorting his colleagues to return to the Senate's tradition of regular order; followed by his vote to allow the debate to proceed under rules contrary to any resemblance to regular order. It was a moral collapse of his "maverick" conservatism as dramatic as his failed run for the Presidency. This moral failure was underscored by his subsequent "yes" vote to repeal the ACA and replace it with the Frankenstein's (McConnell's?) monster of a bill, the BCRA..
Nine Republican senators joined the unwavering Murkoswki and Collins - Tom Cotton (Ark.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Dean Heller (Nev.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), and Rand Paul (Ky.), in voting "no" to drive the BCRA/Trumpcare down in defeat.
Or did it? McConnell's attempt to eviscerate the ACA took one final form, when on Thursday he introduced the "Skinny Repeal" bill which eliminated both the individual mandate that everyone must have insurance -which is how healthy people balance out ill people in an insurance market- and the medical devices tax that funded major provisions of the ACA.
This is where McCain finally lent a hand to Collins and Murkowsky, in his dramatic thumbs-down "no" vote at around 1:30 in the morning last Friday. And with that, the GOP's crusade for Repeal and Replace finally died and the Affordable Care Act remained the law of the land.
Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins were steadfast and public in their opposition to the entire process. McCain's contribution is a mixed bag; but, there's no question his was the deciding vote. His Tuesday speech is worth watching, if only for the image of a dignified deliberative body to which we hope to return; even if his votes betrayed his vision.
From Tuesday to the early wee hours of Friday, the Senate Democrats were rock-solid in their opposition to the Motion to Proceed (the vote to open debate), and every subsequent vote. Even Blue Dog Democrats like Joe Manchin stayed the course despite the risks to his re-election chances in conservative West Virginia. They, along with the moderate Republicans who voted against the BCRA, had something in common: they heard our voices loud and clear over the past six months. Every hour our Indivisible: Conejo activists and our allies spent at protests, rallies, and town halls; every office visit, "Die-In", and trending hashtag - registered clearly with senators across the country. We drew a line in the sand - and they toed it. More than 30 million people still have health insurance - because of you.
We've included a photo album, below, with some highlights from the half-year we've invested in this fight. We need to acknowledge everyone's hard work, but please recognize the hours put in by the team leaders for Healthcare and Disabilities' Rights: Greg Boursalian, Cindy Lou, Lee Ann Holland, and Deborah Madden. Enjoy; we're already back to battling the Trump Administration's attacks on immigrants and LGBTQ+ rights. But we did this - and that knowledge will give us strength for the next fight.
Friday, August 18, 5:30 p.m. - ???
Over the last six months we've worked hard to become effective activists and resist the Trump agenda. Now it's time to celebrate our successes -- and all the new friendships we've made! Please join us for an evening of fun, food, music and conversation. The location will be provided after you RSVP. Don't wait -- because this event is being held in a private home, a limited number of RSVPs will be accepted!
Six Months of Battling to Save Healthcare
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
UPCOMING INDIVISIBLE: CONEJO TEAM MEETINGS
Indivisible: Conejo Daily Actions: July 28 - August 3
7/28 - Rally for Transgender Troops
7/31 - Petition Monday and Call Irwin Day!
8/1 - Call our Senators to Say Not *this* Schiff!
8/2 - We're Going Over Irwin's Head - Call Governor Brown & Tell Him to Get Ready to Sign S.B. 54!
8/3 - We Will Stand Indivisible on LGBTQ+ Rights
News from the Issue Action Teams
Is there a group below whose work you'd like to join? Take a moment to fill out our "Join Us" form so you can stay in touch with the issues that concern you.
The team has continued its activism on behalf of SB 54, working to get signatures on our petition to Assmeblywoman Irwin. As the California Legislature is on break we are using the next week to develop a strategy to apply massive pressure to sheriffs, police chiefs, and legislators. We are also planning on a blitz for the Governor in early September.A bright point is that the Oxnard City Council declared itself a Safe City for immigrants and their families.
Individuals with Disabilities' Rights
In case anyone has been in a cave, or simply can't keep up with the chaos of Trump's scandals....last week the GOPs last ditch effort to repeal the ACA was squashed! At least, for now. There are many things we need to do going forward to safeguard our healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid; join us at our next team meeting to learn more.
On the education front, we sent a letter Governor Brown and Lieutenant Gov. Newsom regarding ESSA. Our goal is to shine a strong light on the our state's shortfalls and gain media attention. While ESSA affects kids with disabilities, ALL kids in the California will be gravely affected if their plan moves forward without significant modification.
This week, the LGBTQIA+ team struck back against Trump's ban on transgender troops in the military by rallying with several other local LGBTQ groups on Friday. This week, we are keeping the pressure on our representatives to denounce this hateful ban and to vote against anti-LGBT judicial nominee Damien Schiff. We are also looking for volunteers willing to help register voters at our booth at the Ventura Pride Festival on August 19th! RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/sp5WIoNnA5fsdHBl2. Plus, join us Saturday, 8/5, to make signs for our Pride booth!
Swing Districts/2018 Election
The Swing Districts team successfully booked a location for candidate forums in the 25th Congressional District. The team asks Indivisible activists to follow the Swing Left calendar for CA-25:https://swingleft.org/district/CA-25/calendar - let's get boots on the ground in the 25th!
On July 26th members of the Indivisible Conejo's Environmental Action Team joined with CAUSE, NextGen, State Senator Hanna-Beth Jackson and environmental activist Tom Steyer to stand in opposition to the building of another gas powered power plant along the Oxnard Coast. Another hearing is scheduled for September 14th to consider alternative, sustainable power plans for the area. Save the date; details to follow.