Senate Dems ObamaCare repeal protest hits 4-hour mark

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Senate Democrats’ protest of the GOP plan to repeal ObamaCare has hit its fourth hour, with lawmakers showing no signs of giving up the Senate floor.

The talkathon is expected to last until at least midnight, as Democrats try to rally public support against Republican efforts to nix the Affordable Care Act despite having no clear plan to replace the law.

Democrats’ message to Republicans boils down to: You break ObamaCare, you own the political backlash from potentially undercutting the insurance markets.

“We’ve told the Republicans you break it you own it,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on a conference call Monday night with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Schumer praised the protest effort, noting it would “spread like a contagion” and is giving Democrats a short of “momentum” as they fight the GOP plan.

“We are winning on both sides. They’re flummoxed. We’re united,” he said.  “The possibility of even defeating the Republicans … is very, very real.”

“We are seeing Republicans get cold feet,” he added.

{mosads}Democrats are expected to face an uphill battle to block either a budget resolution that includes ObamaCare repeal rules or the stand-alone ObamaCare bill. Only 50 votes are needed for it to clear the upper chamber and Republicans have a 52-seat majority.

Schumer’s comments came as members of the conservative Freedom Caucus said Monday night they want to slow down and get more details about GOP leadership’s plans before voting on a budget. Separately, a group of five Republican senators called Monday for slowing down the process in another way, delaying the date of putting forward a repeal bill until March to allow more time to work on a replacement.

Nearly 20 Democratic senators had delivered remarks from the Senate floor as the protest hit its 4-hour mark, with others, including Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), announcing their plan to speak later Monday night.

Democrats repeatedly accused Republicans of trying to “repeal and run,” rather than replace the Affordable Care Act.

“Get real, [Republicans] don’t have a clue what to do next,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said from the Senate floor. “Repeal and run. That’s the Republican plan.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat—added that Republicans are “hate ObamaCare … almost as much as the devil hates holy water.”

Democrats warn the floor protest and calls with outside groups are the first shot in what is shaping up to be a years-long fight over repealing and eventually replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“We have to make it clear every senator and every representative that votes to destroy healthcare in America will be responsible for disaster and consequences that come next,” Warren said on the PCCC call.

She also urged the thousands of supporters on the phone conference to contact Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office.

Democrats are also using social media—including Snapchat and Facebook Live—to try to rally voters outside the Beltway.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)—who like Warren is getting early 2020 speculation—noted that social media can help blast Democrats’ fight against Republicans to voters across the country.

“This is exciting for me because … maybe 10 years ago in the Senate they were often fighting with just normal things, which is you know on the Senate floor,” Sen. Cory Booker said on the Facebook Live video. “But we have the capacity to know to connect to people in greater ways.”

As of 10 p.m., two Facebook Live videos posted by Democrats had been viewed more than 470,000 times.

The Democratic push to hit a small speed bump earlier Monday, when Schumer kicked off the protest on social media by accidentally tweeting “Don’t #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.”

He quickly deleted the tweet and replaced it with Democratic slogan “don’t #MakeAmericaSickAgain.”

Updated 10:55 p.m. 

Tags Chris Murphy Chuck Schumer Dick Durbin Elizabeth Warren Mitch McConnell
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