I Just Called My Reps Again- Did You?

I don’t know if it makes a difference, but when I call my reps and talk to their staffers, I try to drag it out a little bit and be as polite as possible. After they answer, I ask them by the name they have just provided how they are doing and hope all is going well. Then I usually start with “My name is John Cole, and I am constituent of Rep. McKinley/Sen. Manchin/Sen. Capito and I live in Bethany, West Virginia. I was calling to ask where Rep./Sen. stood on the current Graham/Cassidy bill.”

Capito and McKinley’s reps would not tell me because they “did not know,” while Manchin’s staff t old me he was against it. With the latter, I said “Well that’s great to hear, and I would like to add my name to the list because I think it is a terrible bill and will hurt West Virginia and West Virginians,” and then give them my address and phone number in case they would like to reach me.

With Capito and McKinley, I said that “I would like to urge them to both reject the bill and vote no, because I think it is bad for West Virginia and West Virginians, and it is unfair and will hurt our people, who already have a tough go of it.” I then chatted with the McKinley rep about how weird it was to have him as my rep because I actually went to undergrad with his daughter and worked on her campaign to get her elected to the student board of governor’s (she won), and with the Capito rep talked about how my dad and I had both met her father Arch Moore on several occasions because my dad had been mayor for 25 years here and we went to Charleston a lot when I was a kid for grants.

And then at the end, to all of them, I tell them “I am sure you have had an awful couple of weeks, with a lot of angry people calling, so I hope you have a nice day and I really hope that your boss comes out opposed to the bill.”

I don’t know if it works, but I use my calm adult voice (the one that doesn’t say fuck every other word) and just try to be nice and to make it personal. I also insist that they take my address and phone number, so I can’t just be written off as a random but as an actual person who votes in their district. I know not everyone feels comfortable doing that, but I do, so I do it.

I’m going to try to figure out how to fax them all from my printer, because for some reason I have it in my head that those matter more. Also, I recommend writing down the staffer name and keeping it in a file so when you call back and get someone else, you can namedrop the staffer you spoke to and it will let them know you are concerned about the issue, have called before, and aren’t going away.

I also wore my fuck trump t-shirt while calling, but they don’t need to know that.

How do you all do it?

131 replies
  1. 1
    Mike says:

    https://resistbot.io/

    This will send faxes, calls, or letters to your various elected officials. After you do it a few times the suite of features opens up (signature etc). You do it all from text message and it’s SUPER easy.

  2. 2
    Scott says:

    John, you don’t have to fax from your printer. Use faxzero.com. You fax your letter from your computer. The Senate and Reps fax numbers are preloaded and all you have to do is change the Dear so and so part. Real easy. You can hit 2 senators and a rep in about 5 minutes tops.

  3. 3
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’m going to try to figure out how to fax them all from my printer, because for some reason I have it in my head that those matter more.

    That is what “they” say. I think Indivisible is one of the “they”. Try RESISTBOT– Fax from your phone. I send a fax through them every day. Call in the morning, fax in the afternoon.

  4. 4
    gwangung says:

    @Mike: Yup. I agree. Super easy, super convenient.

    They’ll ask for donations sometimes to pay for costs, but, damn, that’s a real justifiable donation to make.

  5. 5
    trollhattan says:

    Now that’s how to fucking make a fucking phone call.

  6. 6
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    Basically the same, but Capito’s DC number was going to voice mail yesterday.

  7. 7
    CaseyL says:

    I like how you mentioned knowing the rep’s daughter. It helps that everyone in WV knows everyone else in WV :)

    I called my two True Blue Senators to thank them for standing fast in protecting the ACA. No problems getting through, and the staffers who answered thanked me for my call.

  8. 8
    themann1086 says:

    It’s hard to stay polite with Toomey’s staffers, but I did this with Meehan’s staffers when I still lived in his district, since he was occasionally persuadable and I try not to take out my frustration on staffers. I’ve screamed at Toomey’s staffers before, though. Just can’t handle them lying for his lying ass…

  9. 9

    I called Lamar Alexander’s office from my vacation in Mexico, and explained in my irritable voice that I cared enough about the issue to call from abroad, and would be sending them the bill. The young fella on the other end of the phone objected to my tone and the use of profanity (“I cannot fucking believe I have to do this AGAIN”), at which point we had to have a sharp and loud discussion about how my language is not the issue, and how this call was on MY dime and he was going to listen and take down my comments by hand goddammit because Mr. Alexander clearly doesn’t get the message, and that if Mr. Alexander would stop trying to take away my healthcare and jack up costs for Tennesseans and stop trying to gut Medicare/Medicaid maybe nasty-mouthed people like me wouldn’t be calling them.
    Then I made him read it back to me, said “bless your heart” and hung up.
    I was much more polite with Corker’s office, because they were polite to me.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    Well, I don’t know any of them nor do I have any ties to them that I know of. The problem is that none of them are from anywhere around here. Even Keith Rothfus, the rep for my district, is not really a product of Beaver County. We are jerrymandered to such an extent that my district is one of the ones they show on TV and in print/online as an example of a ridiculously shaped district, made that way specifically to water down all Democratic votes. I think he’s from Cranberry or Sewickley but he may be from Westmoreland County. All I know is that no one I know even knows him. And I know everybody around here. Both Bob Casey (who I love) and Pat Toomey (who I loathe) are from the east. So I am a big nobody to them. I’m always giving props to Casey and his staff. But I have never been able to speak with an actual person in either Rothfus’ or Toomey’s offices. I leave messages (getting more and more impolite each time) and fax, but I never hear back from either one. I hate them.

  11. 11
    stinger says:

    Juicers who have not gone to dawinsor.com and signed up for Iowa Old Lady’s newsletter are really missing out!

    “Betty was a Unitarian, so she was sure to know about stuff like witches and covens.” lol

    Thanks for the detailed description of How To Do It Right, John. I will follow your lead!

  12. 12
    Paula says:

    John Aravosis advises sounding furious. He said he worked in for a Senator for 10 years (this was on Twitter) and said the one thing that freaks them out is angry callers. He said they’ll forget the nice ones almost immediately but the angry ones will bug them and bug them. He advised sounding as “pissed off” as possible.

    I usually go with “restrained rage” — I don’t swear but sound like I’m just barely keeping myself from doing so. And I tell them I am angry and disgusted or whatever — try to use descriptive words. I called McCain’s DC line and said that he would be the most hated man in America if he vote Yes on Graham-Cassidy. Said that, since he made himself the focal point of the Skinny Repeal and enjoyed all the positive feedback, he will now be seen as a hypocrite and betrayer far more than he would have otherwise.

    They may be used to deplorables having fits but “nice” liberals are polite and therefore can be blown off. I don’t think these Repubs grasp how much rage exists on our side at this point and how white-hot its going to get. They need a taste of that.

  13. 13
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Nice script, John. It’s good to have one when you are calling a persuadable or a hard-core type.

    My senators and representative are all Democrats, strongly against the Republican nonsense. I haven’t been calling them a lot because I know they’ll do the right thing, but yesterday I figured it was time to say thank you again. They are probably getting pretty worn down by the Republican zombies too. So I did, gave my name and city and said I just wanted to thank (title, name) for standing strong against the Republican efforts to destroy the ACA. They said they’d transmit the message, and I thanked them.

    The aides just didn’t seem talky, so I didn’t go any further. Sometimes they are more chatty, and we go on for a while.

  14. 14
    Amir Khalid says:

    Not being USian, I have no US Senator or House Representative to call. All I can offer from the other side of the planet is my moral support.

  15. 15

    My representative is that horrible neoliberal Pelosi who killed the public option by including it in her version of the bill. She needs to go. No point calling her, her lady parts can’t listen to reason.

  16. 16
    geg6 says:

    @Paula:

    As I keep telling Toomey and Rothfus in my progressively angrier messages and faxes, if they weren’t such assholes, I wouldn’t be forced to be one right back.

  17. 17
    Nicole says:

    I use resistbot because I get nervous when I call, and when I get nervous Istarttotalkreallyreallyreallyfast.

    But I also have Schumer and Gillibrand, so my contacts are usually of the “thank you” variety. One thing that does annoy me- Espaillat’s fax line never seems to answer. I’m starting to be concerned that he is not really all that interested in hearing from constituents now that he’s made the national level.

  18. 18
    MomSense says:

    @Mike:

    YES I was just about to post it. I get fireworks now as an “elite” resister.

    Text “resist” to 504-09. Super easy and quick.

  19. 19
    TaMara (HFG) says:

    @geg6: I won’t talk to Gardner’s people ever again. Last time I called, polite and professional, they were so rude I wanted to reach through the phone and punch them. So…I’ve been faxing and forcefully and factually appealing to Gardner’s pro-life/Christian stance. I doubt it will change anything, but I’m sure as hell going to make it clear he’s going against everything he claims to believe in.

    I’m hoping Hickenlooper challenges him next election and wipes his ass off the political map for good. Fucking evangelical hypocrite (I know, that’s redundant).

  20. 20

    @TaMara (HFG): is ‘Loop popular enough to knock off an incumbent senator? His last election he won by the skin of his teeth.

  21. 21
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @brendancalling:
    The asshole was trying to tone troll you. People pull stuff like that when they don’t want to actually engage in real debate.

  22. 22
    Paula says:

    Reasoned arguments are valueless at this point — no one would vote for this atrocity if they were “reasonable”. It’s a desperation move by Repubs and I think they need to grasp that, however angry their idiot base is, there are more of us than them, and if they pass this thing they will be out of the pan and into a volcano. We want them to start sending everyone to message because they’re getting so much hell. Tell them Everyone knows someone sick who will be impacted and when those deaths start piling up they will be held accountable. Also that at this point there’s been so much lying from Republicans that we can’t believe anything they say and every hiccup that happens if their bill goes through will be blamed on them. Etc.

  23. 23

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: congressional staffers never have any interest in debate. He wasn’t trolling, he was just an asshole and probably a dominionist who thinks cussing is the work of Satan.

  24. 24
    Elizabelle says:

    fax them all from my printer, because for some reason I have it in my head that those matter more.

    Is it true that faxes are more “high dollar” in terms of impact?

  25. 25
    TaMara (HFG) says:

    @Major Major Major Major: ??? I don’t think 49/46 is skin of his teeth in a purple state. That’s the same total Gardner beat Udall – and close to Bennet against an almost no name. And the state has changed dramatically in the last three years. Remember we had one of the largest Women’s march totals outside DC. And Gardner’s got a pretty high (49% last time I looked) disapproval rating.

  26. 26
    Yutsano says:

    @CaseyL: Cantwell’s office is right next door to mine. I have been meaning to slip a letter under the door but work has been balls ass busy and I’m leaving early today. Yes I’m making excuses. :P

    Seriously though it’s nice to have the office handy.

  27. 27
    Bruce K says:

    The last time around, when I got a rep at Schumer’s office, my tone wasn’t angry so much as pleading. As in: “If this thing passes and my medical condition catches up to me, it’ll kill me, so please tell the Senator to do anything at all in his power to kill the bill.”

    I couldn’t get any human beings from any of the offices I’ve tried today. My situation’s odd, though, because I’m calling in from seven time zones ahead of DC over Skype, so my afternoon calls might be coming in before the staffers get into the office in the morning.

  28. 28
    Paula says:

    Ask them who Americans will believe: them? or Jimmy Kimmel?

  29. 29
    Elizabelle says:

    @Paula: That cuts to the chase. Short and sweet. Goes in every call.

  30. 30
    Kay says:

    I take a little different approach. I name-drop the local hospital and mention it is the single largest employer in the county- which it is. It’s fudged a bit- they’re the largest but they have lots of 30 hour people, but still. True.

    They’re paranoid about rural hospitals – all of them. I feel it’s a vulnerability for the GOP that screams to be exploited :)

  31. 31

    @TaMara (HFG): oh, I thought it was closer. There was also that hard right third party spoiler dude.

    ETA and it’s crazy how quickly it’s changing! I grew up in Denver and each time I visit it seems so much more like an actual modern city should be.

  32. 32
    gbbalto says:

    The WaPo says that this bill is being sold to red state senators by touting the extra money that non-Medicaid-expansion states will get – “Mississippi will get a 90% increase in funding!”, etc.

    My question is what these states would be getting if they accepted Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Would it be more or less? If more, that would be a good point to bring up to red state politicians.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kay: They’re paranoid about rural hospitals – all of them. I feel it’s a vulnerability for the GOP that screams to be exploited :)

    Great point

  35. 35
    J R in WV says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Now see, that was a perfect opportunity to use that {code} font – sarcastic as heck, right!?!

    John, that’s pretty much how I go when I call around the various scoundrels. Thank DOG I won’t ever actually get Joe Manchin on the phone, that would be instant swearing the worst profanity I remember from my Navy hitch – no one swears as good as a sailor!!! Just come ’round and ask.

    I try to be polite. Comment above recommends barely restrained rage, keeping it restrained once I get going would be the problem…..

  36. 36
    Kay says:

    If you have a big provider or best yet, a SINGLE provider, mention that. A lot of people work there. It would be a real body blow to a lot of these places if people had to travel 30, 40, 50 miles for health care, especially elderly people.

  37. 37
    StringOnAStick says:

    We are in Austria currently and I can’t call or text with this phone, but I’ve sent emails to the odious Gardner. Once home again I’ll be burning up the phone lines. In either case I always tell them that the chaos they are creating around health insurance has killed my husband’s plans to form his own firm since we both have pre existing conditions, so his voting for this is killing a new small business on the vine.

  38. 38
    Paula says:

    @gbbalto: My understanding is that they want to reduce money going to blue states, send a larger percentage to red states that previously refused medicaid expansion, but cut the overall amount allocated. Bribe to red states, punishment to blue states, less $ overall.

    That’s if what they say is even true and why should we believe them?

  39. 39
    sharl says:

    The linked post went up yesterday, so it’s highly likely it has already been discussed here (at least in comments). But worth repeating.

    A great catch from @charles_gaba: Graham-Cassidy could make thousands of Obamacare plans illegal next year. https://t.co/yr3AL3LJ4k— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) September 20, 2017

    Direct URL to Charles Gaba’s post.

  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I am kind of surprised resistbot, or somebody, hasn’t come up with a way to fax from email or a regular webpage, would make life easier for the older folk, the fat-fingered, and those of us who are both

  41. 41
    Elizabelle says:

    @Paula: It’s an absolutely deplorable plan.

    I hope the Republicans have shot themselves in their own dicks this time. It’s so backwards, and just plain mean.

    Shame on Graham and Cassidy for fronting this evil.

  42. 42
    Kay says:

    @gbbalto:

    But that creates a vulnerability in the House, doesn’t it? For every red state Senator there are a few red or purple House members whose state will be losing money. I don’t know that Rob Portman’s constituents are thrilled about sending Ohio Medicaid funding to Alabama

  43. 43

    @J R in WV: But the sarcasm was evident, so there was no reason to use the ugly font. And at any rate, putting // at the end of your snark is easier and prettier.

  44. 44
    Betty Cracker says:

    When I reach a human at the office of Marco Rubio or my shithead tea-bagger rep, I’m polite, but I don’t try to persuade. I just state that as their constituent, I am calling to let them know I’ll remember that they supported a bill that will harm virtually every constituent group, including kids, seniors, people with employer-based healthcare, etc., and that it’s obvious to everyone that they’re doing it to curry favor with donors since regular Americans don’t want this bill. I call Bill Nelson’s office to say thanks for voting NO. Also use resistbot (text “resist” to 504-09) to send faxes.

  45. 45
    The Moar You Know says:

    “My name is John Cole, and I am constituent of Rep. McKinley/Sen. Manchin/Sen. Capito and I live in Bethany, West Virginia. I was calling to ask where Rep./Sen. stood on the current Graham/Cassidy bill.”

    I also throw in my phone and address right at the start. I do this because they’ll ask anyway, in order to check to see my party affiliation before they’ll talk to me. Since I’m “decline to state”, they then have to listen to me. They hang up on all Dems. Your approach is a good one.

  46. 46
    Kay says:

    Look at the bright side. Their polling must be absolutely horrible if they’re so desperate they’ll push this piece of shit thru.

    They’re saying they’re doing it so they don’t “lose the gavel” so there’s that incredible integrity and public spirit again!

    Like 90% of the country gives a shit if they “lose the gavel”. Me, me, me.

  47. 47
    H.E.Wolf says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Faxzero.com allows you to compose a fax at their web page. They have lists of all the senators and reps, organized by state – and you aren’t limited to choosing your own state’s officials.

    @Amir Khalid:
    Thanks, Amir – support from you is valuable support indeed.

    It’s great to be among so many in this post and thread who have been calling and faxing.

    I made a deal with myself that I didn’t have to be super-organized or brilliant or well-spoken, which (a) takes the pressure off, and (b) makes me feel great on the occasions when I’m above my usual par for coherency on the phone.

    Sending good thoughts to everyone who has been calling/faxing, and encouraging thoughts to everyone who hasn’t yet done so.

  48. 48
    EdTheRed says:

    I live in DC, so yeah, I don’t call anyone, because nobody gives a f*ck what I think.

  49. 49
    Tim in SF says:

    Since you asked, John, I don’t think Faxes are worth two shits. They’re 1980s tech. Vanishingly few have the actual machines anymore, especially the old voters who vote. And they don’t print out on the other end, either – they go to a file which someone might briefly glance at as they scroll through the stack.

    Want to get noticed? Write a letter with a pen and put a stamp on it and send it to their local office. Make a copy and send the copy to the DC office. To know what to say in the letter, watch this video.

  50. 50
    Elizabelle says:

    @Tim in SF: That’s great. Thanks.

  51. 51
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Paula:
    Hate to be a spoilsport but Jimmy Kimmel=Out-of-touch coastal liberal elite!

  52. 52

    @Tim in SF: letters take ages to arrive and be read due to security. If you want an opinion recorded in the next week you need to call or fax.

  53. 53

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Kimmel has been so influential that republicans try to “pass the Kimmel test” with their bills. It matters.

  54. 54
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    They hang up on all Dems. Your approach is a good one

    For those that do that, that is such bullshit. Constituents are supposed to be constituents, no matter affiliation. Just goes to show that reactionaries have no loyalty to abstract principles but only their own tribe and what keeps themselves in power.

  55. 55
    Elizabelle says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Let’s all just stick our heads in the oven, mmmkay?

    Any of those weasels would LOVE to have Jimmy Kimmel’s audience share and approval rating. They don’t.

    As Kay mentioned, their polls must be toxic.

  56. 56
    But her emails!!! says:

    @gbbalto:

    My question is what these states would be getting if they accepted Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Would it be more or less? If more, that would be a good point to bring up to red state politicians.

    They’d ultimately get more if they accepted Medicaid expansion. You can see that when looking at the hits red states who accepted expanded Medicaid would take under this bill. That’s not particularly relevant to them as
    1. Their state is run by Asshats who would never accept the expansion so some money is better than none
    2. Their voters are spite voters, so sticking it to blue states and the “other” is a plus
    3. The flexibility the states will get with regard to spending, means they’ll be able to plug it into their budgets and pass sweet, sweet tax cuts. No need to spend it on poor people.

    As a side note, that’s why block grant spending is shit. It’s basically taking lots of money from wealthy states and distributing it to poorer states based on need and then having those states give it away to rich people as tax cuts instead of actually using it to help the poor or improve the state.

  57. 57
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I hope you’re right. I’m a fan, though I rarely watch his show (the Matt Damon shit cracks me up). I hope he can rile up the under-forties

  58. 58
    Steeplejack says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Plus, if you have to rely on a sarcasm font, you might want to reassess your talent for doing sarcasm—either that or the native wit of your audience. (Present blog audience excepted, of course.)

  59. 59
    Elie says:

    I called my reps – Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell — both strong supporters of ACA. Maria made a spot for the radio yesterday and Patty has been involved with trying to negotiate a compromise solution with the Republicans. They are both working this how they can and with gusto.

    I just don’t know what else to say or do. It is appalling and scary to see such persistence for such a mean goal — depriving many people of access to heath insurance and therefore health care. We keep screaming, like in a bad dream, but no one wakes us up — we are falling over a cliff in this country —- I will fight and continue to fight and lean forward into it —

  60. 60
    Irony Abounds says:

    McCain’s office in DC sends you to a comment line, or suggests you go to a website. Lack of talking to an actual person helps Johnnie Boy avoid dealing with real human emotion.

  61. 61
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    Edit: I was watching a video about recognizing fascist symbols and their BS arguments that try to muddle the issue. Included was a video from Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute. I was shocked at how blatant it was of making light of traditionally democratic and American principles (freedom, tolerance,consumerism etc) as “abstract principles” that white people cannot connect with; at least, Not as well to a glorious past of White European cultures like the Greeks, Romans, etc. It asked the viewer to define their identities not based on their own individuality (achievements, career) but on their own skin color and the connection that has to “White History”, basically. The logically conclusion from it, is they want to create a white ethnostate.

  62. 62
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    That’s good to hear then. I hope it has an effect.

  63. 63
    Evinfuilt says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    You can use reistbot from Facebook Messenger. That’s pretty damn user friendly.

  64. 64
    Kristine says:

    Finally signed up for ResistBot, and sent Thank You faxes to my two blue senators, Durbin and Duckworth.

    It really is a nice system. Forgot to include my address, but I’m on their newsletter lists so I’m easy to confirm.

  65. 65
    Lulymay says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Me, too, from Canada. We had a nightmare government for longer than expected (called Reform) which are closely aligned with your Teaparty Horribilus and it was gong show of them trying to either get rid of or watered down to non-effectiveness but we finally pulled the plug on them. Good luck to all – even those who have no bloody idea that they are being royally screwed by their evangelical brethren.

  66. 66
    aimai says:

    @Paula: I think it has to be emphasized to them that when you buy a pig in a poke and you bring it home and drop it in the middle of the kitchen its still a pig. Maybe they think they can pretend that there is “good stuff” in the bill for their own states but that’s a lie, an absolute lie, and their own constituents are going to be wrecked by this bill. That can’t be hidden. Whatever emotional or financial bump they get from voting with their tiny majority to force the bill through–Graham, Cassidy and Trump aren’t going to be able to protect them from the direct nuclear fall out from this bill.

  67. 67
    Scott says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    They hang up on all Dems. Your approach is a good one.

    I’m a registered Republican who hasn’t voted R in a decade. I keep my registration in deep-red Texas so when I call and yell I can also say, “I’m a registered Republican and I vote every time!). Don’t know if this is the right approach but it’s mine.

  68. 68
    Kay says:

    Caller: I am a physician/medical student and I would like to know where Senator Portman stands on the latest ACA repeal bill, Graham-Cassidy-Heller.

    This is the script I got in an email. Do I have to lie and say I’m a physician/medical student? I won’t! They’d probably know I was lying anyway, with the “physician/medical student” And/or.

    I just called Portman. You get voice mail so I have no idea how many calls he gets.

  69. 69
    MomSense says:

    Here is today’s fax. Feel free to take/adapt for use with your Congress critters.

    First I want to thank Sen. Collins for working with Sen. Nelson to try to add reinsurance to the ACA. I think that is an important step and I hope the Maine delegation will all work to make that happen. I also want to express a big thank you to Sen. KIng for being so steadfast against these attempts to take away our access to health care.
    I was already very upset by the extreme cuts to Medicaid, the end of Medicaid funding in 2026, and the loss of protections for those of us with pre-existing conditions that are all included in Graham Cassidy. Then I saw an interview Sen. Barrasso did with Katy Tur. When she asked him why Graham Cassidy doesn’t guarantee Essential Health Benefits, he replied that it shouldn’t. This is shocking. Pre-natal, maternity, and newborn care are essential benefits. Contraception is an essential benefit. Outpatient care, ambulatory services, laboratory services, prescription drugs, mental health, and substance abuse services are all essential benefits. Are we really going to keep all the ACA taxes in place while losing all of these benefits? This is madness.
    Please stop this terrible bill. There is no excuse for this kind of cruelty when it comes to something as crucial as health care. I fear for what will happen to the people of our state. Most of us cannot afford to take such a dire financial hit if this bill passes. Please use every measure of your influence with your colleagues to stop Graham Cassidy. We are counting on you to protect us.

  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    CALL CALL CALL!!!

  71. 71

    @Steeplejack:

    Plus, if you have to rely on a sarcasm font, you might want to reassess your talent for doing sarcasm—either that or the native wit of your audience. (Present blog audience excepted, of course.)

    I agree (if most people can’t read what you wrote ‘correctly’ it’s almost always your fault), but I’ll add the caveat that it’s often just polite to add some sort of sarcasm indicator (// being my preference) if it’s a situation where misreading it might hurt the reader’s feelings.

  72. 72
    sharl says:

    .@LindseyGrahamSC just said Graham/Cassidy #healthcare bill will be on Senate floor next week 🚨 if true…checking with @SenateMajLdr— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) September 20, 2017

  73. 73
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TaMara (HFG): From your mouth to FSM’s noodly ears re both Hick and Gardner.

    ETA: I’ve been emailing Gardner’s office, since my phone coverage is so wacky here in the mountains, and I don’t feel comfortable making political calls from my office. Don’t know if they have any effect, but at least I usually do get an answer eventually, even if it’s one that sends me into spittle-flecked rage.

  74. 74
    Amir Khalid says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    Republicans in the states seek to cut Democratic voters out of the democratic process by systematic disenfranchisement: gerrymandering, complicated eligibility rules, burdensome proof-of-identity requirements, and so on. Congressional Republicans seek to cut elected Democrats out of the legislative process. It’s all the same strategy at different levels, isn’t it?

  75. 75
    MomSense says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Faxes are much more influential than emails. If you can send a fax or do a letter to the editor, that would be more effective.

  76. 76
    MomSense says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    I’ve been faxing and forcefully and factually appealing to Gardner’s pro-life/Christian stance.

    You might want to tell him that it is not pro life to cut essential benefits like pre-natal and newborn care which Graham Cassidy does. If babies die because they didn’t get the medical help they needed, that’s on him.

  77. 77
    sharl says:

    @sharl: (was denied by FYWP in attempt to add this to previous comment).

    Graham made the comments as he emerged from a meeting with Alaska senators Before that, he was huddled in McConnell's office— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) September 20, 2017

    Graham's optimism suggests Alaska senators are open to supporting the bill— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) September 20, 2017

    Who knows if Kasie Hunt’s speculation is accurate? On the one hand she’s been covering these people for awhile, so has a feel for their ways; on the other hand this is a singularly unique situation. For all I know Graham is throwing a Hail Mary, so he can go back to the Koch Brothers and other wealthy nabobs and be able to say “sorry Masters, we tried!”

  78. 78
    Elizabelle says:

    CNN: Obama speaking. They haven’t cut away.

  79. 79
    Kay says:

    Remember- the goal is to fund the giant Trump tax cuts for rich people by gutting health care. They’d kill for those tax cuts. They are, in fact. There will be a body count.

  80. 80
    kindness says:

    I’m glad John is doing this. I live in Ca. My Senators I don’t have to worry about how they will vote. My Congress critter is a tea bagging lying sack of shit and nothing I say will change that. I have no doubt his staff would lie to me on the phone just as he would.

  81. 81

    @MomSense: don’t be silly, everybody knows that they’re only pro-life-until-birth.

  82. 82
    Kay says:

    Bill Cassidy‏Verified account
    @BillCassidy
    Follow
    More
    Replying to @NPR
    @NPR FALSE. Under the bill, states must ensure that individuals with pre-existing conditions have access to adequate & affordable insurance.

    Lying. Again. Whatever happens I hope the fact that this guy is a blatant liar with no credibility sticks. It might.

  83. 83
    Miss Bianca says:

    @MomSense: I usually do both. I may just take your script that I used last time in a LTTE. Oh, it also doesn’t help that my cell phone went AWOL a few weeks ago and I just got around to replacing it.

  84. 84
    Elizabelle says:

    Obama just getting to healthcare.

    Those of you who already have universal healthcare are asking yourselves “what’s the controversy here?” I am too.

  85. 85
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kay: Have Access to is liespeak.

    If you cannot afford something you have access to, you don’t HAVE it.

    What a shitweasel.

  86. 86

    @Elizabelle: Just like how the argument used to be that gay people have marriage rights, they’re free to marry somebody of the opposite sex just like everybody else.

  87. 87
    rikyrah says:

    @MomSense:

    thanks for the script.

  88. 88
    Drunkenhausfrau says:

    I use Resistbot, text “Resist” to 504-09. It will figure out who your rep/senators/governor are and then you type in whatever message you want to send. It can compose a faxed letter, a snail mail,letter, or even place your phone call so you can speak directly to a staffer. It’s great! I fax letters frequently. I live in a blue state… but I speak up, and also say thank you. The governor a Koch Rethuglican, so my letters to him tend to be more contentious, but still polite. The resistbot is free, but will take donations, if you want to help them with postage, etc.

  89. 89
    Elizabelle says:

    Shitweasel Wolf Blitzer now brings Chris Cilizza in to discuss Obama.

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Nancy SMASH hasn’t fixed DACA this week so you march down there right now and yell at her directly, young man!

  91. 91
    Raoul says:

    At one point a couple screw-ACA bills ago, it was so bad trying to get through to any Sen Gardner phone lines with working voice mail that I ended up leaving a message on what sounded like a tape recorder-era answering machine at his Grand Junction office.
    I always mention my address. I don’t know if any of the offices have caller ID, but I don’t want them to write me off because I have a (612) number. In the era of keeping cell numbers wherever we move, area codes mean nothing.

  92. 92
    rikyrah says:

    New website about the Russia investigation, created by Rob Reiner

    https://investigaterussia.org

    And, don’t forget about

    http://www.billmoyers.com

    Another great reference on Dolt45/Russia.

  93. 93
    Ohio Mom says:

    I did get through to Portman’s Columbus office a couple of hours ago. It’s worth it to go to his website on your phone, scroll to the bottom of the first page and use the links to call each office in turn — every now and then you hit pay dirt.

    I think that calling is better than writing (although I do send emails too) because you are talking to an impressionable young person and who knows, maybe one of them will be impressed.

    I often play my cancer card — it could come back and I could be left without coverage because before the ACA I’d be uninsurable. I play the Mom of an autistic kid too — without Medicaid, there won’t be s group home for him, he’ll be living on the street after Ohio Dad and I are gone.

    I tell them that yes, I am angry and afraid, I dump it all on them. I think it is absolutely necessary to them to make ’em cower. This stuff is serious and they have thick skulls, they need to hear the rage and desperation their boss is causing.

    And I tell them that, that they need to consider if this is how they want to spend their life, working for someone who would vote for this. I say, You are young, you have your whole life ahead of you, you can change your direction.

    I don’t think you can be explicit enough. As I said, they have thick skulls, they are Republicans.

  94. 94
    rikyrah says:

    @Mike:

    thanks. am spreading the word.

  95. 95
    Raoul says:

    @Kay: Yeah. states must ensure is an unfunded mandate if I’ve ever seen one. Total garbage legislation. The GOP is doing this because their incentives are to about two dozen mega-donors, not to 320 million actual people with regular lives.

  96. 96
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Kay:

    They’d probably know I was lying anyway, with the “physician/​medical student” And/or.

    LOL. I think you’re supposed to pick one. You’re not very good at this devious scheming thing, are you?

    Official: Now you will take the oath of office. Repeat after me: “I, [state your name] . . .”

    Kay: I, state your name . . .

  97. 97
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    I’m trying to spread the word about the rural hospitals, Kay. Thanks for the helpful hint

  98. 98
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Agree with that. But the “sarcasm font” is right out.

  99. 99

    @trollhattan: On Monday, activists were yelling at her because DACA ‘tokenized DREAMers’ and didn’t present a path out of the shadows for the other undocumented immigrants. ‘All of us or none of us!’ they chanted. Super helpful.

  100. 100
    Eric K says:

    Thankfully My trio are Wyden, Merkley and Bonamici so calling them is to leave a keep up the good work message.

  101. 101
    Kay says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    But what a weirdly small category. Physicians or medical students who live in Ohio and are likely to call Senator Portman.

    It’s like 17 people. They don’t deserve their own script. FANCY scriptifying.

  102. 102
    MomSense says:

    @rikyrah:

    And nursing homes.

  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    I am lucky enough to be represented by Democrats at all levels, but John is right that it’s easier to start at polite and adult and then ratchet down to upset if the person on the other end is snotty or unresponsive. If nothing else, a polite start usually forces them to be polite as well and if they’re not, you can change tactics.

  104. 104
    trollhattan says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Cheeseweasels’s in the White House and Nancy is the problem. I don’t understand these folks, not one bit, but thanks for the video clip gift to Frank Luntz, morans.

  105. 105
    opiejeanne says:

    @Elie: They are Senators, not reps. Who is your Rep? Mine is Suzan Del Bene, so she gets a thank you from me as well as the good Senators.

  106. 106
    Kelly says:

    @Eric K: I’ve got Schrader. His Blue Dog rhetoric is annoying but he seems to always vote our way.

  107. 107
    sharl says:

    @Kay: They’re paranoid about rural hospitals – all of them. I feel it’s a vulnerability for the GOP that screams to be exploited

    Atrios was wondering about that as well:

    What I’m a bit puzzled about with the latest GOP attempt destroy our health care system is that it really seems like it would destroy our health care system. I know they don’t think poors should have health care, but if you pull too many Jenga tiles out of the system the whole thing starts to come down. Rural hospitals are gone, for example. And rural hospitals aren’t just for the poors in rural areas. All those big square red states have rural areas. Have to be pretty damn rich to take a helicopter to the hospital when you get sick.

  108. 108
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Kay:

    No, I agree with you about that. Just thought your post was funny, because I think of you as savvy, tough-minded Kay, who would never get tripped up in any way, much less by a script error.

  109. 109
    sharl says:

    Kudos to the occasionally problematic NPR for the thread kicked off by this tweet; instead of curling up into a fetal-like Nice Polite Republican position, they stuck to their guns and showed their work

    Sen @BillCassidy called our reading of his health care bill on pre-existing conditions false. Here’s how we read it: https://t.co/6vkONctK7B https://t.co/sA4wAEXvh3— NPR (@NPR) September 20, 2017

  110. 110
  111. 111
    Scott says:

    Everybody is focused on the Senate, which is good but I think a hard core press on Blue State Republican Reps is very viable. I mean, the AHCA barely passed the House back in March (1 vote?) so beat up on those guys also.

  112. 112
    Paula says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    I tell them that yes, I am angry and afraid, I dump it all on them. I think it is absolutely necessary to them to make ’em cower. This stuff is serious and they have thick skulls, they need to hear the rage and desperation their boss is causing.

    YES.

  113. 113
    japa21 says:

    @sharl: Cassidy is getting a lot of negative feedback on twitter. My response pointed out he is not providing any specific language in the bill that supports his argument.

  114. 114
    zhena gogolia says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    The person at my state senator’s office hung up on me when I used the rather mild expression “covering your asses.”

  115. 115
    Paula says:

    I think it IS possible to be “polite” and “angry” simultaneously. You can radiate rage without swearing, and without name-calling. Alternatively, you can name-call in a very calm voice. Either way, make the calls intense.

  116. 116
    Eric K says:

    @Kelly: in the end the votes are what matter, I give the rhetoric a pass as long as they vote the right way.

  117. 117
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Paula:

    You can radiate rage without swearing

    Speak for yourself!

  118. 118
    Barbara says:

    @Scott: Pennsylvania, New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois between them have 48 Republican House members — 10% of the states! have 20% of congressional members because of — duh! — population differences! So if I were calling my Republican member in Pennsylvania (or any of the others) I would zero in on how those five states make up the difference between a Republican majority and a Republican minority and why he thinks it’s such a great thing to take money from Pennsylvania and give it to Mississippi and that since he apparently is in league with Cassidy and Graham who have made it clear that their INTENT is to screw states like Pennsylvania you will be gunning for him and every other Republican in that state for betraying their constituents and make damn sure that everyone knows that he actually thinks he represents some other state. Even if you don’t live in his district you have relatives and friends who do. Doesn’t matter if it’s true. Say it anyway.

    ETA: I know this is the House, but those reps from those states who voted for the bill that made it to the Senate are going to be confronted with a Senate bill that is intended to screw their states without having an opportunity to add anything to cushion the blow. Issa voted for this. Macarthur and Fruylinghausen in NJ voted for this. They are the whipping boys of the Republican party if they vote for a bill if it comes out of the Senate. Get in early and make them know it now.

  119. 119
    Elizabelle says:

    Remind McCain’s office that he gave that “principled” and impassioned speech on the importance of returning to normal order.

    Which handling ACA repeal this way surely is not.

    I think McCain will not vote for this, in the end. But surely his words should mean something?

    I kinda wonder if this is Lindsey Graham taking one for the team, to fail and say to the Kochshits: hey man, we tried.

    ETA: And by that, I mean Team Imbecile.

  120. 120
    lowtechcyclist says:

    Just called up both my Senators (Cardin and Van Hollen, since I’m a MD resident). They’ve been quite outspoken on Twitter about how bad Graham-Cassidy is, so after giving them my name and residence, I basically said that I’d read what they’d tweeted, and fully supported their opposition to Graham-Cassidy.

    A phone call like that takes about a minute, if that. Nothing to it.

    Tomorrow I’ll be headed to a relative’s funeral in Florida, so I’ll have access to a Florida land line to call that species of invertebrate known as Marco Rubio.

  121. 121
    SC54HI says:

    Called my Senators (Hirono & Schatz) yesterday to thank them for their steadfast opposition to this latest horror.

    Does it do any good to call/fax out-of-state reps? I’d like to contact Murkowski’s office – there’s a FB rumor that her office is welcoming non-constituent input. Anyone know if that’s true?

  122. 122
    Barbara says:

    @SC54HI: I take the view that if you have close relatives in a state, or if you grew up or own property in a location, you could call on their behalf. I called on behalf of my mother, brother, and sister, who all benefit from the ACA in Pennsylvania. I have to start calling again. My own senators and rep might like to hear from me, but they are strongly opposed to ACA repeal and always have been.

  123. 123
    Elie says:

    One hope that I have is that the Senators who vote for this will have to overcome the reality that Republican Senators and particularly, Congressmen in Blue or purple states, will have a hard time explaining giving money up to the red states — big money give up. Also the Governors who went with the Medicaid expansion in red or purple states. That would seem to be a real choke point to me, but we’ll see….

    Another thing that I don’t think that they understand is how much hell this would raise — not only from the Democrats but all the providers that this would affect….

    I don’t know who is behind this latest push — some say the Kochs and Mercers — but I think that this would be a poison pill that they would not be able to overcome (just my opinion and maybe I am wrong). This doesn’t feel like a winning approach…

  124. 124
    SC54HI says:

    @Barbara:
    Thank you. No family in AK but I may try to reach her offices anyway. Worst that will happen is that Iʻll get a hangup.

  125. 125
    Elizabelle says:

    @lowtechcyclist: My condolences on the relative’s passing. It’s good you are going.

    And good on calling Rubio. Go for it.

  126. 126
    jimmiraybob says:

    Yes. Registered a hard no on Graham-Cassidy (McCaskill, Blunt and, for good measure, representative Lacy Clay). Used a little Mathew (5:1-12 & 25:40) jiu jitsu on the Blunt call just in case he actually believes what he says he believes. Now, onward to the White House occupant’s office.

  127. 127
    Ohio Mom says:

    @SC54HI: I did that this morning — left a message, reminding her I called this summer to thank her after her heroic NO vote and urging her to vote NO again.

    Does this do any good, I do not know. I do it for myself, frankly. I want to be at peace with me, knowing I did what I could.

  128. 128
    Bill Arnold says:

    Just saw rudepundit on Graham-Cassidy Dicks Over So Many People (and Its Sponsors Are Liars); worth a read. I could pluck quotes but the whole thing is a fine rant (and only mildly rude).

  129. 129
    agorabum says:

    I…don’t do anything because my rep and Senators are great. I actually can’t think of anything they’ve done in recent memory that made me want to head-desk.

    Just a reminder that its not all terrible out there.

  130. 130
    Greg in PDX says:

    I live in Oregon, which has a grand total of one (1) Republican in Washington DC (in the House) and he is trying really hard to just duck all of this . Not only that, but I keep getting FB posts in my timeline from both of our Senators and our Governor and they are very vehemently outspoken against this atrocious bill. . Also yesterday, evil Keebler Elf Sessions came personally to Portland today to scold us for our sanctuary city status. I’m sure that went over well.

  131. 131
    workworkwork says:

    @Mike: Thanks for pointing me to ResistBot. I just faxed both of my senators (Bennet and Gardner) and it was such a good experience I tossed a few bucks in the tip jar!

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