ObamaCare fight moves from Washington to local districts


Advocacy groups opposing the Senate’s health plan are seizing on a weeklong congressional recess to turn up the heat on Republicans.

Groups on the left and the right, running the gamut from Planned Parenthood to Freedomworks, say they will use the break to pressure members before a possible vote on legislation as soon as the second week of July.

{mosads}“We know the bill is coming back as bad as ever, so we’re going to turn up the heat,” said MoveOn Campaign Director Justin Krebs.

“The bill is not what was promised to voters,” said ForAmerica President David Bozell. “It’s a liberal piece of legislation that has been met with record low levels of support.”

Planned Parenthood, which stands to be defunded for one year under the Senate bill, will hold more than 100 events in key states across the country such as Alaska, Arizona and Maine.

“Planned Parenthood supporters will be out in force during the July recess, speaking out against the worst bill for women’s health and demanding their Senators vote no on Trumpcare,” Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement Friday.

Conservative groups FreedomWorks, Club for Growth and ForAmerica want leadership to accept an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would allow insurers to sell plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare’s insurance regulations, as long as they also sell plans that do meet those rules.

“To get the base back on board with this bill, the Senate needs to adopt the recommendations put forth by those most trusted by the base like” GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Cruz, says Bozell.

If not, Bozell said, “the movement will ensure our memberships are well aware. Our audiences are bigger, our reach is bigger, and our memberships are very much engaged.”

The July Fourth holiday presents a unique opportunity for liberal advocacy groups looking to confront lawmakers. While many lawmakers have opted against hosting town halls, many will be holding public events or participating in parades over the recess.

Senate Republicans publicly opposed to their party’s first healthcare bill will probably feel the most pressure.

Krebs said GOP Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) “will all hear from their constituents this coming week.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delayed a vote planned for before the recess when it became clear he did not have the support from his own conference to move forward.

In seeking to cobble together 50 GOP votes, McConnell’s office has focused on centrists.

It has talked about eliminating the repeal of an investment tax, which would free up more money for tax credits for low-income families. It is also talking about putting more money in the bill to help people battling opioid addiction, a key issue for Portman and Capito.

Liberal groups mounting a pressure campaign don’t want those provisions to sway the centrist Republican senators.

GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Cruz and Heller, all of whom are up for reelection next year, will all be targeted in new TV ads from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee that focus on the Senate bill’s cuts to Medicaid. A new analysis from the CBO released Thursday estimated that the Senate’s bill would cut Medicaid spending by 35 percent over the next 20 years.

In the ads, a mother of a child with cerebral palsy says she is worried about the proposed Medicaid cuts in the Senate’s health bill.

“I can’t afford Micah’s care if this bill passes,” the mother says.

“Look at her face. Tell me, Senator Cruz, what am I supposed to do?”

Indivisible, a nonprofit working to organize a progressive grassroots network across the country, is planning “non-stop calls” to congressional and district offices and “die-ins” to highlight what they say are the dangers of the Senate GOP bill.

“Our priority number one is making sure groups continue their pressure … doing everything we can to put pressure on senators,” said Angel Padilla, the group’s policy director.

Conservative groups will spend the recess pushing for more changes to the bill — besides calling for the changes advocated by Cruz, they will push back against a longer phaseout of ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion.

Tags Dean Heller FreedomWorks Indivisible Jeff Flake Lisa Murkowski Mike Lee Mitch McConnell MoveOn ObamaCare Planned Parenthood Rand Paul Rob Portman Shelley Moore Capito Susan Collins Ted Cruz
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