Time to call Congress

Okay, now that Tom Price will be Secretary of Health and Human Services, we know that the medical and social insurance system that we have had in place since 1964 and expanded dramatically in 1999 and 2010 is under severe threat. Elimination can be mostly done through reconciliation but modification needs to go through regular order. That means there is some leverage. Three GOP Senate defectors need to be pressured and pressured hard.

So let’s get calling. There are two objectives to these calls. The first is to make sure that there are no Democratic cross-over votes in the Senate. The second is to make the vulnerable Republicans who rely on an increasingly old base to get re-elected know that they can’t kill Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP or the ACA quietly.

Democrats who need a call to remind them that their base has their back:
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
John Tester (D-MT)
Heidi_Heitkamp (D-ND)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

All of these Senators represent states that voted for Trump. Let’s get them some support and pushback.

The pressure list is much shorter
Dean Heller (R-NV)
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

These Senators are up for re-election in 2018. Heller is actually vulnerable, Flake is a stretch goal.

The next round of Republican calls are to either the old line establishment (Bob Corker, Orrin Hatch) or to Senators who represent a lot of retirees (Shelly Moore Capito, Marco Rubio, both Georgia Senators, both North Carolina Senators)

So get calling.

UPDATE 1: Tell Joe Donelly thank you:

46 replies
  1. 1
    eldorado says:

    totally sure that kidney infection and close to diabetes blood sugar won’t disadvantage me in our new glorious health care future.

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    I appreciate your positive thinking, Mayhew.


  3. 3
    PhoenixRising says:

    @eldorado: Warm up your dialing fingers.

    -2 adults in remission, 1 teen with treatable disability, 0 family members with access to a group plan

  4. 4
    mdblanche says:

    Joe Donnelly is already making his opinion known, but if you’re in Indiana you should still call him to let him know you have his back.

  5. 5
    PhoenixRising says:

    Jeff Flake (R-AZ)* hated Trump and was against Paul Ryan and other “RINO”s maintaining power on Nov 7th.

    There may be a crack to set a chisel in.

    *”You can’t spell crazy without (R-AZ)”

  6. 6

    Cory Gardner (R-CO, 2020) could probably use some pressurizin’ too.

  7. 7

    @rikyrah: It is either this or day drinking

  8. 8
    The Truffle says:

    I just called Schumer and Gillibrand’s office. I’m going to make a weekly thing of this. I suspect I’m going to be making a lot of calls to the senators’ offices over the next four years.

    I wish I could see the looks on the faces of these red-state seniors who now realize what they really voted for. Am I mean?

  9. 9
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Major Major Major Major: ooohhh! Smahhht! CO dropped abortion rates AND unmarried parenthood AND births to mamas under 21 in 3 years with an ACA block grant …

    …involving giving an IUD to every damn body who was willing to have one installed.

    Let’s not mention that second part when we call Gardner though.

  10. 10
    Lizzy L says:

    @Richard Mayhew: There’s a beer in my fridge that I’m trying to not notice.

    Fuck Tom Price.

  11. 11
    MomSense says:

    Shouldn’t we add Susan Collins and Angus King to the list? We are the oldest state in the country.

  12. 12
    DaveA says:

    FWIW Donnelly just put out a statement saying he would oppose Price.


  13. 13

    @The Truffle: When they see undocumented kids who got a reprieve under DACA rounded up, that will be their medicine.

  14. 14
    Mai.naem.mobile says:

    @PhoenixRising: yeah,but he supports privatizing anything and everything. With Trump and McCain winning in AZ I think Flake is less scared about his ’18 reelection race. And I don’t think the Dems are going to put up anybody decent against him. I hope I am wrong about all this.

  15. 15
    Barbara says:

    @MomSense: Every day, hundreds of people should be calling Collins, Portman and Toomey.

  16. 16
    Mai.naem.mobile says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: you mean the kids of their house cleaners ,their aides and their yard guys? And when their grandkids can’t stay on their kids ‘ insurance plans.

  17. 17
    Elmo says:

    I lived in East Tennessee for eight years, and when I left I didn’t bother to change my cell number. So I still call from an 865 area code. I live in Maryland now, so my own Senators are well in hand, but would it be wrong for me to call Bob Corker as if I were still a constituent? (I even met him once, at Knoxville’s Boomsday celebration.)

  18. 18
    dexwood says:

    It will be an odd time when my dogs end up with a better health plan than me… if I can still afford to have dogs.

  19. 19
    Betty Cracker says:

    For those of you who don’t have your senators in your contacts already, here’s a link to find the contact info: http://www.senate.gov/general/contacting.htm.

    I called Bill Nelson and left a message (all lines are busy). Maybe after I have my evening martini, I’ll calm down enough to call Rubio’s office without there being a grave risk of me shouting, “FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCK!” Which would be counterproductive, obvs.

  20. 20
    daverave says:


    I find it infuriating that when I go to Joe’s webpage(s), no where does it mention his party affiliation.

  21. 21
    Lizzy L says:

    @daverave: Yeah, I noticed that too. Gotta roll with it.

  22. 22
    Betty says:

    Make sure you send information on Price and contact numbers to folks who don’t follow Balloon Juice.

  23. 23
    Ann Marie says:

    I just called Senator Casey and left a message telling him how important this is to me. I hope he listens. I’ll try Toomey’s number next.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    anybody wanna piss off John McCain?

    Sabrina SiddiquiVerified account
    ‏@ SabrinaSiddiqui
    A testy John McCain to reporters: “I will not speak about Donald Trump, and I do not want to be asked again.”

    The adjective is of course redundant, but I assume Sabrina Siddiqui knows that

  25. 25
    Mk3873 says:

    Don’t forget the VA. Trump is getting chummy with the Kochs and he is likely to name a VA privatization nutbag to run the VA.

  26. 26
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: you could always do a nice calm “This is Betty from GiantFlyingBugVille FL, and I would just like to remind Senator Rubio…” then call back later after your martini and scream obscenities and abuse.

  27. 27
    hovercraft says:

    While you are calling tell them you oppose this big pharma giveaway:

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading the charge to defeat a medical research bill she says is a big giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry covered by a “tiny fig leaf of funding” for actual research and other health spending. Warren, who was joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders in opposing the bill, called on Democrats Monday to stand up for the American people against the corporate lobbyists who have swarmed Capitol Hill to shape the legislation.

    Warren supports some aspects of the bill, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes a bipartisan mental health initiative and limited funding for things like cancer research ($4.8 billion over a decade to the National Institutes of Health) and drug prevention to address opioid addiction ($1 billion in state grants).

    But she ultimately blasted Republicans for “trying to buy off Democratic votes, one-by-one, by tacking on good, bipartisan proposals that senators in both parties have worked on, in good faith, for years.”

    I cannot vote for this bill. I will fight it because I know the difference between compromise and extortion.

    Compromise is putting together common-sense health proposals supported by Democrats, by Republicans, and by most of the American people, and passing them into law. Extortion is holding those exact same proposals hostage unless everyone agrees to special favors for campaign donors and giveaways to the richest drug companies in the world.

    Compromise is when Senators – Democrats and Republicans – find the way forward on issues that matter to their constituents. Extortion is telling those same senators to forget what your constituents want – nothing to deal with the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and nothing to increase medical research. Instead, every important, common-sense, bipartisan bill on mental health, genetic privacy, opioid addiction, foster care, and anything else will die today – unless Democrats agree to make it easier for giant drug companies to commit fraud, give out kickbacks, and put patients’ lives at risk. This demand is enough to make me gag.

    GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell has called the legislation a lame-duck priority for Republicans. The battle Warren is waging could ultimately serve as a test case for how effective Democrats will be at mounting an opposition to the GOP-controlled Congress.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:


    Flake also has a whole lot of Olds as his constitutents who want the government to stay out of their Medicare, so I’ll bet he could be had if you can get the otherwise conservative oldsters riled up.

    Now I’m almost sorry my mom moved to IL from AZ after my dad died.

  29. 29
    goblue72 says:

    @daverave: As long as he keeps getting re-elected in Indiana, I don’t care. He can paint his website red and have giant eagles and flags all over it for all I care. Get re-elected, paint inside the party lines most of the time and paint outside on occasion when you need to, and then go get re-elected again. All I care about.

  30. 30
    Droppy says:

    The fact that a blue dog like Joe Donnelly has come out forcefully against this goomer is a great sign. Donnelly hemmed and hawed on the original ACA vote and was an inch away from caving. If he is voting against Price, it’s hard to believe there is going to be any Democratic support. And maybe there will be one or two Republicans who can make the Medicare argument, too. That should put Ryan on notice that he’d better back off.

  31. 31

    @hovercraft: I have been told by no shortage of mental health and addiction advocacy groups (especially LGBT ones) that this is their last bite at the apple for at least four years.

  32. 32
    MomSense says:

    Just looked at the issues tab on Susan Collins’ website. She is calling for increased Medicare funding for diabetes treatment. King’s website has lots of pro ACA articles and links.

    Both Collins and King have been holding town meetings on opioid use. I can’t imagine that losing the ACA money going to rural health clinics and access to health and mental health care wouldn’t compromise any efforts to combat opioid addiction.

    Make the case to your senators. If you know anyone who has a pre-existing condition please tell their story to your senators.

  33. 33
    Inmourning says:

    Elmo, I kept my 803 area code when I moved, and use it to call Lindsay Graham. This morning on Trump’s conflicts of interest, and the need for Repubs to force him to disclose all of his financial info. So go for it. Call Lamar Alexander too.

  34. 34
    jenn says:

    Thanks, Richard! Yes, time to call. I’m trying to make phone calls or write letters every work day. Yesterday, I failed to do so, and had anxiety-related insomnia. If I can make sure that every day, I’m doing something useful, then I’m controlling what I can control, and can do what I can to keep moving forward in good health.

    I want to move to the alternate universe where Hillary won. A hell of a lot less stressful.

  35. 35
    Betty says:

    @Ann Marie:
    Only getting messages today so you need to keep trying. We have been told the local office is better to call than the one in DC.

  36. 36
    🌷 Martin says:

    I’m writing off national politics for the next 2 years. The calls may help, but its clear that Trump and the GOP are going to make the most of their power grab.

    There’s an opportunity now in California, however. The 6th largest economy on earth and 1/6 of the US economy. Dems have supermajorities in both chambers and have the governorship. We’ve twice passed single-payer and Brown has indicated he’d support it if the finances work out. If there is going to be a widespread national privatization effort, CA now has renewed incentive to make it go. Yes, its hella complicated as Richard has noted, but CA also has the most actively managed exchange in the country, one of the most competitive health care marketplaces in the country, and some of the best health policy folks around Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Where Vermont was too small economically to probably pull it off, California is not, and California really, really likes telling the feds to go fuck themselves on issues like this. Consider that almost the entire clean energy policy for the nation was driven by California, often by repeatedly suing the federal government.

    I would encourage those of you here in the state with me to direct at least some of your efforts into trying to move CA forward. We’re obviously the national outlier on policy and we’ve succeeded not by protesting the federal moves, but by doing what we think is right and proving that it works. CA clean energy policy isn’t going to change no matter what the feds do because we’ve pushed it hard enough that its now the economically better solution. Solar is going in because it’s cheaper than coal and the feds can’t change that fact. We need to do the same with healthcare. CA’s economy is the size of the UK or France. We can do this.

  37. 37

    @🌷 Martin: this is all very excellent, but I thought we were one short of a supermajority.

  38. 38
    jenn says:

    @🌷 Martin: I think we have to do both. Do whatever we can at the national level, but redouble efforts at the local to state levels. Wherever we are, not just in blue states. I have the local Dem meeting firewalled on my calendar. I’ve always been one to fulfill my civic responsibilities – I research and I vote accordingly, I help out in GOTV – but I’ve never been one to do any heavy lifting in the political realm. Now I’m in.

  39. 39

    Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-WA) Seattle office told me to call the Washington office. The Washington office said that the Senator hadn’t taken a position yet and hung up on me. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office said that, but added that I could refer back to Sen. Cantwell’s previous positions. I told her that the Senator needed to be out in front of the news. She agreed to pass that along.

    This is a relatively safe blue state. Where are our elected officials?

  40. 40
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Nope. Certified yesterday.

    Granted, these are difficult things to get even with a supermajority, but the context matters. Single payer priority fell because the feds were working on achieving similar goals. That was also true for a lot of things that CA dems have been internally arguing about. But when you start to look at the fed positions – that climate denial will be an official policy – that will pull the coalition together in some ways. Same will likely hold true if ACA and Medicare start to get dismantled. I think this is a galvanizing moment for CA Dems.

  41. 41

    @🌷 Martin: Right. I am now for states rights, specifically the right of Oregon, Washington, and California to tell the federal government to go to hell.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    cckids says:

    Called Heller’s office, they were noncommittal. I want the Repubs to really fight on this; I want it to be a huge, HUGE public battle that they ultimately lose. (even though the dark side of my mind would love for the mean-spirited olds who love Trump to get what they voted for). I want every damn Republican to go on record that they are not only willing but eager to gut Medicare and shiv their most passionate voters.
    (FSM knows they could give a shit about Medicaid or CHIP).

    You chose this hill, GOP. Fight for it and hopefully die on it.

  44. 44
    Steve in the ATL says:

    I called my congressman, Dr. Tom Price. I hope he can help!

  45. 45
    LurkingLibrarian says:

    Long time lurker here. I just called Sen Pat Toomey’s Pittsburgh office and was told that he has issued a press statement saying he will vote to confirm Tom Price as Sec of HHS. Needless to say, I told the staffer I was very unhappy about that.

  46. 46
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    I called Flake and Heller and urged his staffer to do the right thing and help protect my Mother-In-Law who is a double-lung transplantee and survives off Medicare. They will pass it along.

    Called Bob Casey’s office and his staffer said that he is committed to protecting Medicare.

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