Calling Scripts for March 7, 2017
The GOP released its draft ACA repeal/replace bill yesterday.
HJ. Res. 37 passed the Senate on a 49-48 vote (all Dems voted against).
The Senate will vote on HJ. Res. 44 today.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings today for Deputy Attorney General nominee Rod Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General nominee Rachel Brand.
Confirmation hearings for SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch are expected to begin March 20.
GOP members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the House Ways & Means Committees released drafts of their ACA repeal/replace bills yesterday. Here are some of the "lowlights":
- The GOP plan, as expected, defunds Planned Parenthood. It also effectively ends private insurance coverage for abortion.
- The individual and employer mandates are eliminated. The individual mandates were one of the more unpopular aspects of the ACA, but it's important to note that insurance companies cannot provide coverage without having both healthy and sick people paying premiums.
- Federal requirements for coverage for maternity care, hospitalization, mental health services, and other coverages would be eliminated, meaning that these would now vary from state to state, with the reddest states (which also often have the least healthy populations) providing fewer coverages.
- Income-based subsidies are replaced with age-based subsidies, meaning dramatically less assistance for the low-income people who need it the most.
- The ACA Medicaid expansion is eliminated entirely and converted to block grants.
- All of the ACA tax increases are repealed, which amounts to a tax cut on the wealthy. Also, as noted by the Brookings Institute, these tax repeals will mean that the Medicare trust fund will be drained more quickly, completely emptying that fund by 2025.
The bottom line is: this plan will raise premiums and lower coverages.
- House Energy & Commerce bill text
- House Energy & Commerce bill summary
- House Ways & Means bill summary
- GOP hits the gas on ObamaCare repeal (The Hill)
- Paying for an ACA replacement becomes near impossible if the law's tax increases are repealed (Brookings)
- The GOP's Obamacare repeal plan is out--and it's even worse than anyone expected (LA Times Op-Ed)
HJ. Res. 44
House Joint Resolution 44 passed the House on February 7. The resolution would disapprove a Bureau of Land Management rule known as the "Planning 2.0" rule. This rule was put into place last year and does two main things. First, it provides for greater involvement from the public (including state and local governments, Tribes, partner agencies, and local populations) on projects (such as drilling, mining, and logging) using public lands by allowing input through all stages of project development and increasing transparency. It also requires that the best available science be used in the decision-making process in order to protect habitats, allow continued recreational access, and mitigate climate change.
If the "Planning 2.0" rule is repealed, it would both slow down new project planning as well as make it more difficult for the public to have input into the planning process, taking more control away from state and local groups and giving that control back to the federal government.
Bill information (congress.gov)
Deputy & Associate Attorney General Confirmations
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee (of which Senator Dianne Feinstein is the Ranking Member) is holding confirmation hearings for Deputy Attorney General nominee Rod Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General nominee Rachel Brand. Notably, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said yesterday that he would use all available tools to block Rosenstein's confirmation unless he agrees to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Administration's ties to Russia. This has been a major point in the hearing so far, but Rosenstein has said that he doesn't see any need for him to recuse himself and appoint a special prosecutor.
- LIVE COVERAGE: DOJ nominee on the hot seat over Russia (The Hill)
- Dem threatens to block deputy attorney general nominee over special prosecutor (The Hill)
Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch are expected to begin on March 20. Despite initial statements from Senate Dem leadership (including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer) that Democrats would strongly oppose that confirmation, there has not been a significant amount of pushback so far. In fact, several Democratic Senators--including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana--have supported Gorsuch's nomination.
Nevertheless, Gorsuch's nomination has been strongly opposed by progressive groups because of his stances on women's health (he supported the Hobby Lobby decision allowing employers to deny insurance coverage for birth control), consumer protection (he has argued that it should be more difficult for consumers to hold Wall Street accountable for fraud), and other workplace and environmental protections (he supports legal theories that could threaten those protections).
- Liberals threaten to primary over Gorsuch (The Hill)
Conclusion/Call Script Overview
Today I will be calling both my senators to ask them to oppose HJ. Res. 44. I'll also thank them for voting against HJ. Res. 37 yesterday. I will ask them to continue to press for a full investigation into the Administration's ties to Russia, and for an independent special prosecutor. And I will ask them to oppose Neil Gorsuch's nomination.
I'll also be calling my Congressman and asking him again to oppose the GOP's attempt to repeal our healthcare.
If you're not from California, you can find contact information for all US senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
If you don't know who your representative is in the House, you can look it up here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Script for Calling Dianne Feinstein
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling first to thank Senator Feinstein for voting against HJ. Res. 37 yesterday. I believe that it is essential that we oppose the GOP's attacks on our necessary protections, so I'd like to ask the Senator to please vote against HJ. Res. 44 as well. I'd also like to ask the Senator to continue pushing for a full investigation into the Administration's ties to Russia, and to block the confirmation of Rod Rosenstein unless a special prosecutor is appointed. Finally, I'd like to ask the Senator to oppose the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, because his stance on women's health, worker protections, and consumer protections are very concerning. Thank you."
Script for Calling Kamala Harris
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling first to thank Senator Harris for voting against HJ. Res. 37 yesterday. I believe that it is essential that we oppose the GOP's attacks on our necessary protections, so I'd like to ask the Senator to please vote against HJ. Res. 44 as well. I'd also like to ask the Senator to continue pushing for a full investigation into the Administration's ties to Russia, and to block the confirmation of Rod Rosenstein unless a special prosecutor is appointed. Finally, I'd like to ask the Senator to oppose the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, because his stance on women's health, worker protections, and consumer protections are very concerning. Thank you."
Script for Calling Scott Peters
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I saw the draft bills released yesterday by the GOP for repealing the ACA, and I'm very concerned about how it will lower coverage and increase costs for everyday Americans, while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy. I'm counting on Congressman Peters to do everything he can in the Energy & Commerce Committee to oppose this bill and protect our healthcare. Thank you."