It’s obviously a very disappointing day, with the American Health Care Act passing, and with all 14 California Republican Representatives voting for the bill.
We always said that the California delegation would make the difference, and they certainly did: It was Reps. Denham, Valadao, and Knight—all in swing districts and all who expressed opposition or specific legitimate concerns about the bill—who co-sponsored the Upton amendment to give the bill that final boost for passage. Rep. Issa was the 216th and deciding vote.
It is of small comfort but worth noting that our work and activity in California made this *very* hard for GOP—their original plan was to pass a repeal of Obamacare in January to be signed by Inauguration Day. They failed the first, second, even third try. Even 24 hours before the vote, the only members of the delegation who were publicly for the bill were GOP Majority Leader McCarthy and the four members who already had voted for it in committee. We shaped an environment where they didn’t come out for the bill until they absolutely had to. We provided the information so that they knew this was a bad vote—many cited their concerns publicly, and even more than a few said they would oppose it in private.
But in the end, we couldn’t overcome McCarthy’s sway in California and the full force of party pressure and Presidential power. We knew that the House often votes in lockstep—but we helped make it tough in the Senate.
We should be proud of all our protests and coalition actions—the rallies, press conferences, phone banks, canvasses, office visits, and more. Our work isn’t done yet: it now shifts from persuasion to accountability, focusing on making sure that their constituents remember this vote to raise premiums, remove consumer protections, and throw millions off of coverage.
Given the broken commitments made in the last recess of resistance, this next break, starting tomorrow May 5th through May 15th, needs to be a recess of rage. We are starting to plan events for the end of next week, and making a couple of our members particular examples.
As this bill goes to the Senate, with action as soon as late May, we won’t have the same specific targets as we have had for the past six months. But we still have a role building a national narrative, providing backup to our supportive Senators Feinstein and Harris, and being active messaging in our major media markets to echo and amplify our colleagues in other states with swing Senate seats.
The #Fight4OurHealth isn’t over—we need to continue our work to prevent this travesty of a bill from becoming law, even if our role changes now.