We’ve won this battle, but the fight isn’t over
The last few days have been a whirlwind. We started the week geared up to fight against the horrible Senate health care bill that was supposed to be voted on this week. Coalition members alerted their field networks across the country, and millions of advocates like you (and hopefully including you!) called, emailed, tweeted, rallied, wrote op-eds and showed up at the offices of their senators urging them to reject this terrible bill that would strip health care from 22 million people (including people in every state), end the Medicaid expansion, and in fact end Medicaid as we know it.
And it worked ! The calls, the tweets, and everything else – they all worked! Enough senators listened to their constituents and expressed concerns about the bill that Senate GOP leaders were forced to postpone the vote on the bill until after next week’s Congressional recess. Thank you for your part in this victory – a victory we should all celebrate!
A less-advertised but no less important fight and victory occurred on the House side, too. The House Budget Committee was expected to pass this week its very bad FY18 budget – a budget that would call for up to $200 billion in cuts over the next decade to mandatory programs like Medicaid, SNAP/food stamps, assistance to low-income people with disabilities, and other programs that help our neighbors afford basic living standards. The House budget would also cut spending on annually-funded human needs and other non-defense programs by nearly $5 billion below the cap set by current, to $511 billion. In comparison, defense programs would get a huge bump in their budget – to $621.5 billion, up $70.5 over current levels and up $18.5 billion over what President Trump asked for. Because of push back from some representatives who expressed, among other concerns, that the cuts to safety net programs were too drastic, that vote was postponed until July as well. This is also good news!
As much as we should celebrate these victories – and we should! – we also need to keep the pressure on. The delay of these votes gives leaders in the House and Senate more time to work on members, make deals, and convince and cajole those who might be on the fence to fall off of it. And some of those members won’t take much convincing – they may have wanted to slow down the bill in order to get some amendment that won’t change the overall damage noticeably, except perhaps to make it worse.
This means we can’t let up. More good news – since members of Congress will be home next week, it’ll be easier for you to tell them what you really think of their repeated attempts to strip health care, food assistance and other basic necessities from millions of Americans so they can give enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest and big corporations.
Check out Town Hall Project to find events where your members of Congress will be speaking with constituents. Then go. Share your story. Share your concerns. If your elected officials aren’t holding town hall meetings, plan to go to 4th of July parades, picnics, and other events where they’ll be. And of course you can still call their offices (800-826-3688) and urge them to reject these cuts when they return to Washington.
We have won this battle – and we should celebrate. But the fight continues.