John McCain is flying back to Washington D.C., despite the fact that flying in his condition is generally frowned upon in the medical community because he is literally putting his life at greater risk. The reason why he is taking this chance is because the Republican Party is going to try one last time this summer to jam the most unpopular legislation in my lifetime through Congress, and the self-proclaimed “maverick” cannot pass up another opportunity to vote in lockstep with his party. The assumption is that McCain wouldn’t be flying back unless he could be the yes vote that puts this over the finish line, but actual reports demonstrate otherwise. There are still many Republicans on the fence. If one of these eight people is your Senator, then you have an immense amount of power over them right now.
Additionally, if you think that the Republican Party will vote yes just so they don't waste John McCain's time, well, you don't know the Republican Party.
So here is how the Republicans are plotting to make health care worse in America, and here is how you can stop it.
Today is the “motion to proceed” vote, meaning that the Senate will vote whether to bring the bill to the floor to debate and ultimately vote on the bill. If the Senate does not get 51 votes today, this version of the bill is almost certainly dead. The only way it still may have some zombie life left in it is if Mitch McConnell votes against the motion to proceed, because then he could bring another variant of the bill to the floor. But if the head of the Senate votes for the motion to proceed, and the motion fails, this version of the bill is completely dead. We can kill this abomination today.
So how do you stop this?
CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN
If you don’t know who your Congressman is or their phone number, enter your zip code or your state here, and the wonders of the internet will deliver that information to your fingertips. Phone calls are infinitely more effective than tweets or e-mails because:
A. The Senate is filled with old fogies who don’t run their social media or e-mail accounts, so you’re just ranting to an intern.
B. The Senate phone system is set up so that if enough phone calls come in, they can’t dial out, and you can literally shut down the Senate beneath an avalanche of phone calls. We saw this happen the moment Trump was sworn in, when the GOP tried to weaken the ethics office, and they were beaten back almost immediately by a deluge of phone calls.
Call. Your. Senators. Now. It works.
If the motion to proceed succeeds, then 20 hours of debate is scheduled, and we will finally begin to figure out what is actually in this historically secretive bill that’s going to redefine one sixth of our economy. This is where your Senators will be at their most vulnerable, because they will have to finally go on record as to their thoughts on this legislation.
So how do you stop it here?
Phone calls. While your Senators are on the floor debating, they will come back to their office and get a report from their staff as to how their voters back home are receiving all this. Given that most Senators’ actions are 100% dictated by how they can stay in office, this is a golden opportunity to recruit new Republicans to the cause of sanity. Don’t tweet. Don’t e-mail. Don’t post on Facebook. Those are lazy ways of showing everyone you’re trying to affect change without actually affecting change. It’s practically a form of public masturbation. Calling these dinosaurs is the only thing that will resonate.
Call. Your. Senators. Now.
There are a few avenues to vote on this, so do not let your Republican representative trick you into thinking they are not voting for this monstrosity of a bill. Amendments can be added to this bill, and the Democrats will likely try to add some that will force difficult votes for the Republicans. The one that matters the most is the BRCA amendment, which turns the health care bill into a revised repeal and replace. If that amendment fails, then the bill is dead. How to stop it? I think I’ve made this annoyingly obvious by now.
Call. Your. Senators.
If the BRCA gets 51 votes, then we’re getting really close to making this insult to humanity a real law. McConnell will introduce the final bill with amendments to replace the bill passed by the House. This is when we need to go to DEFCON 1 and flood the Senate with an infinite number of phone calls, because it’s really now or never. If the bill does not get 51 votes, it is dead. If it does, it goes to the House for final passage.
The House will vote on it as soon as possible after the Senate passes it, so we must make sure that we are burying Congress in phone calls nonstop, but especially so if the motion to proceed passes today. The Republicans are conducting the legislative equivalent of a heist, and we must match their level of intensity, otherwise, these ghouls will succeed in their plan to liquidate Medicaid in order to pay for yet another tax cut for the rich. Game faces on folks. It’s now or never.
Call. Your. Senators.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.