Keep on Calling, just keep on calling

The Senate is back in town.

You know what that means.

Time to keep on calling the DC offices and the local offices and tell the interns answering the phones your strong, polite and coherently worded opinions on the AHCA/BCRA tax cut bills.

Andy Slavitt lays out the contours of the next two week:

The fundamental assumption in that tweet is that no Republican wants to by the decisive vote. The two allowable “No’s” have been taken by Heller and Collins. If there is a single vote left on the floor and the count is 49 Yes-50 No, the pressure will be immense to not be the person blamed for killing the bill. The bill will probably go to the floor if McConnell can count on 47 or 48 solid Aye votes. He figures he can arm twist and allow a political pressure cooker to squeeze the last few people whose personal political preference is “Vote No, hope yes but is there if needed.”

So that means the hard No’s need to be locked down. So people from West Virginia, call Senator Moore Capito; people from Kansas call Sen. Moran. Keep on calling.

Call the Senate

Call the Senate. Tell them that the AHCA is horrendous policy that actively and aggressively harms people and that you expect them to vote No.

Be polite but be clear and firm as to what you want your Senator to do.

If you live in a state with two good votes on the AHCA, call them as well. They like to hear that they have support back home. It makes it easier.

The Senate was always going to be where the greatest chance of stopping a policy and moral disaster so let’s get to work.

Time to call the Senate

We know the AHCA is horrendous policy.

We know the AHCA is extraordinarily unpopular.  We know that it is unpopular even among Republican voters.  We know that the Senate is far thinner margins than the House and we almost won there.  So the goal this week is to let your Senators know that this is a very bad bill with very real consequences for their constituents.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Onward Together (But Never in Lockstep)

On Monday, Clinton described that effort as one to “encourage people to get involved, organize, and even run for office,” while tweeting out the names of several groups that have led anti-Trump or grassroots Democratic efforts this year, like: SwingLeft (which identifies potential districts to turn blue for would-be donors or volunteers), Run for Something, and Color of Change, which does a lot of criminal justice work…

Organized over the last few months with former DNC chair and governor Howard Dean, the group is still in the early development stages…

“We’re not looking to duplicate or replace the DNC or the DCCC or all that stuff,” Dean told BuzzFeed News recently. “We’re looking to give these folks the opportunity to do the building they’re already doing on their terms, but in a more organized way, when the one hand knows what the other hand is doing.”

Dave Weigel, in the Washington Post, “Possible 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls gather for progressive ‘ideas’ conference”:

Don’t call it a “cattle call.” Don’t call it the “CPAC of the left.” On Tuesday morning, the Center for American Progress will host a daylong “Ideas Conference” — its third, as CAP President Neera Tanden points out. It’s just different from the last two in that at least 140 reporters have signed up to cover it, and they’re not shy about calling it a 2020 scouting session.

“We’re focused less on the politics of the moment and more on, ‘What’s the alternative?’ ” Tanden said in an interview. “I expect there’ll be some criticism of Trump, but we expect most of our speakers to provide a positive vision.”…

The conference, which as in the past will take over the St. Regis hotel, will kick off with a speech from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and end with a speech from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), both in their 40s and elected to their high-profile jobs in 2013. About half of the rest of Tuesday’s speakers are considered potential 2020 presidential candidates: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Gov. Terry MacAuliffe (D-Va.). Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), whose 2016 reelection victory gave Democrats one of their few reasons to cheer in a rural state, will also get a set piece speech…

On Wednesday, after most of the media are gone, CAP will host training sessions for “resistance” activists — part of a series that the think tank has organized. One of Tuesday’s panels will bring some of the activists together, as well as Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, whose “Daily Kos” blog has become a major crowdfunding source for Democratic campaigns.

“I LOVE these new resistance groups,” Moulitsas said in an email. “We need to stop chasing after white racists lost to the fake news bubble, and realize that out of the 97 million Americans who didn’t vote last year, the majority is our own liberal-leaning base. We need to get THOSE people registered and active in the franchise.”

Apart from organizing for the future, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Revisiting Cassidy Collins

On Sunday, Politico reported that there are back-channel discussions in the Senate on healthcare between Democrats and Republicans.

Cassidy’s and Collins’ efforts haven’t limited their talks to the handful of red-state Democrats whom the GOP once eyed as possible converts on health care. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), for one, spoke to Cassidy in March about the Republican’s efforts and praised him for the outreach.

“Sooner rather than later, we’ll return to those discussions,” Carper said.

In addition to Kaine and Carper, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) have spoken with Republicans in general terms about health care recently, according to several people familiar with the matter. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a leading figure in the GOP’s effort to repeal Obamacare, has also talked with Democrats including Kaine,

If the skeleton of discussion is Cassidy-Collins, then quiet talks to shape future talks make sense for Democrats in my opinion. As I see it the outcome tree for Democrats to engage on a Cassidy-Collins like discussion look like the chart below:

Not engaging is an all or nothing bet that values politics of playing for a massive wave in 2018 and a trifecta in 2020 to correct the policy damage. If a bill that can get 50 Republican Senators and the Vice President to vote for it gets out of the Senate, it will get out of the House. It will be less bad than the AHCA but it will be very bad from a Democratic policy perspective.

Engagement either leads to burning Senate time if there is no productive grounds for a deal which is a good in and of itself in a normal legislative environment and extremely valuable in today’s climate or a deal that cements the federal role in healthcare where the argument is over which dial to turn and how far to turn it. That returns healthcare to normal politics and cements a massive ideological victory for liberalism bought at the cost of a tactical policy retreat and giving up the ability for Democrats to use healthcare as a board with a nail on it to beat up on Republicans in the 2018 midterms.

Cassidy-Collins is fundamentally a healthcare bill.  I am still scratching my head at how to make auto-enrollment work with deductibles for a single individual under $10,000 but it is a healthcare bill.  The AHCA is a tax cut bill with massive Medicaid cuts attached to it.

A few cups of coffee to see if there is a plausible agreement zone by both conservative Democrats in vulnerable seats and Senators who liberals can trust as policy validaters are worth drinking.