In case anyone missed the news, today has been another fantastic day for the Resistance, coming at the end of an equally strong week. After a day of debate over the American Health Care Act on the House floor, Trump instructed the Republicans to pull the bill in the eleventh hour. This directive came following a conversation with House Speaker Paul Ryan in which Ryan made clear that the bill did not have the necessary support to pass. The bill not only faced unified opposition from House Democrats, but also met with resistance from the far-right Freedom Caucus and other staunch Conservatives following an announcement from the ultra-wealthy Koch brothers which promised “millions” in donations to any Republicans who voted against the bill.
So, where does healthcare go from here? Seemingly, in the correct direction: Paul Ryan, in a press conference immediately following the decision to pull the bill, stated unequivocally that “Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land… We are going to be living with Obamacare for the forseeable future.” President Trump, in a phone call with Robert Costa of the Washington Post made clear his opinion that “healthcare is dead,” and the country will be living with the Affordable Care Act, at least until the Act “explodes,” an event he insists is on the near horizon, in spite of the 11.5 million new enrollments in the ACA in 2017. In a press event, the president passed responsibility for the ACA off to Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi–who I’m sure were perfectly happy to accept the victory and the responsibility for it. Finally, he expressed his disappointment both with the Democrats and the Freedom Caucus, but gave Paul Ryan credit, saying he “worked hard.” His tone was less defeated than aggressive, but the message was clear: this has not been a good week for the President or his administration, and the President has accepted defeat on this issue for the time being.
There are several clear messages to be taken from today’s events: first, Resistance efforts at town halls, communicating with representatives, and protesting had a massive effect. Democrats have also made clear that a far-right agenda will be met with complete and effective resistance. Finally, it is important to realize that many of the Republican representatives who campaigned and were elected on “repeal and replace,” and many others who would have voted to pass a bill that would have left many of their constituents uninsured are in an incredibly vulnerable position as a result of this failed effort. Now is the time to capitalize on that vulnerability and put forth all of our energy to lobbying for an independent investigation into the the Trump campaign and administration’s Russian ties, making clear that calling for such an investigation represents their only opportunity for re-election.
If you need to locate the contact information for your representatives, you can do so here. I urge you to make your voice heard on this issue at your earliest opportunity, regardless of your representatives’ party identification. If you are looking for other ways to get involved, the ACLU People Power initiative provides great ways to engage in concrete action.
Today, we won a battle. We must continue to resist in order to win the war.
This is the ALF, signing off.