File this one under: Reasons thinking and caring people will need to stay alert for the next four to eight years.
It’s not really a huge secret that Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Maybe the biggest hint is that they’ve been calling it “Obamacare” since it was drafted and signed into law by the current president back in 2010. If it’s got his name attached to it, chances are Republicans hate it, literally hate it. And the ACA most definitely falls into that category. Add to this the fact that in the Obama years they fruitlessly repealed it with meaningless congressional votes more than 60 times, and you can get a pretty clear picture — Republicans hate Obamacare and will do anything they can to stop it.
In fact, just hours after their newly elected congress was sworn in, Senate Republicans in the Budget Committee set to work on doing that. Perhaps some progressives in the country might hang their hat on the filibuster saving us from the truly worst stuff Republicans have in store for us, but at least according to one writer at Vox, the Budget Committee may have just started the Obamacare repeal in motion in a way that not even the filibuster can stop.
As reported in Vox:
Senate Budget Committee Chair Michael Enzi (R-WY) introduced a budget resolutionTuesday that includes “reconciliation instructions” that enable Congress to repeal Obamacare with a simple Senate majority. Passing a budget resolution that includes those instructions will mean that the legislation can pass through the budget reconciliation process, in which bills cannot be filibustered.
That means Republicans will only need 50 of their 52 members in the Senate, and a bare majority in the House, to pass legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act. According to the Wall Street Journal, the budget resolution could be passed by both houses as early as next week. (source)
It’s starting to become really clear how important gerrymandering and the Electoral College are for Republican relevance in the modern age, isn’t it? Still, don’t underestimate the power of your own voice. Sure, by itself, it’s just a tiny, little delicate snowflake, seeking a safe space. But in concert with millions other snowflakes — say about 65 million to be precise — your voice is a roar, and its echo can cause an avalanche.
Don’t believe me?
Look at how public pressure directly impacted the House Republicans recent attempts to make congressional bribery and corruption just a bit more legal. Despite what his backers will claim, it wasn’t Donald Trump’s tweets on the subject that got into the Republicans’ heads; it was the uproar from the citizens that did it.
Most members tell me blizzard of angry constituent calls were most impt factor in getting the House to sideline the amdt
— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 3, 2017
A lot of people will spend a lot of time trying to convince people who oppose Trump to either “get in line” or to “accept” reality and get in line. Basically, they’re going to argue that Trump’s president now, and no matter what we say or do, we can’t stop him. They’ll tell us that Congress is Republican-controlled because “the American people have spoken,” but meanwhile we know that the simple math shows that Senate Democrats got the support of more Americans — you know, by having people vote for them — than their Republican counterparts did in 2016’s election, and the House Republicans only took 52% of the votes in House races.
It’s going to be really, super-duper hardcore important for people to remember the math of 2016 in coming years, so they don’t feel like they have to capitulate to Republicans for no reason. Of course, Congressional Democrats may end up reverting to form and turning tail, but the rest of us can bolster ourselves with the knowledge that Trump’s true margin of victory was only about 80,000 votes out of more than 130 million cast. We can rest a little easier knowing that a historic number of people voted against him instead of for him.
The importance of remembering that liberals are just as well-represented in the rural areas as they are in urban areas is seen in our ability to push House Republicans away from their efforts to dismantle their watchdog group; a group specifically empowered to investigate congressional corruption. It was the collected chorus of the disenchanted that got through to them. This kind of show of force is possible for every single stupid or cruel thing they want to try, by the way.
You can call your congress critter to harangue them about not repealing Obamacare. You can call them to complain about any attempts to privatize the social safety net. You can pretty much call your congressman or woman up and bitch, moan, scream and wail about anything you want. It’s called “Freedom of Speech” and if you hear any Republicans complaining about it, just point them in the direction of the Tea Party and tell them to shut the fuck up.
The Republicans are gunning for Obamacare, and they’ve put something in motion that maybe even the Dems can’t stop. That means the onus is on us to do something about it, but the question is will the American people learn anything from their victory over the battle of congressional oversight committees, or will they give up after one win?
Rebellions truly are built on hope; so here’s hoping for steeled resolve for the next four years. We’re going to need it.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.