Congressional Republicans signaled today that they are dead serious about their plans to repeal Obamacare, setting the wheels in motion for a complicated procedure that will allow Obamacare to be repealed via reconciliation, so that it needs the support of only 50 Senators.
In the first Senate vote to start that process, Collins voted with all of her fellow Republicans except Rand Paul, though he stated afterwards to a reporter that she “still has concerns” about Obamacare repeal. It seems as though she may be holding out hope for an Obamacare replacement to accompany the repeal, or for legislation to fix/improve Obamacare instead of outright repeal.
The next step in the process is for the relevant committees in the House and the Senate to submit drafts of their own bills for repeal by January 27th. It just so happens that Collins sits on one of the key committees: the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. This means she’ll have significant influence in the process well before the final bill reaches the Senate for a vote, which Republicans are aiming to achieve by the end of February.
There are many issues to be concerned about with the incoming Trump administration, but given the huge human impact of Obamacare repeal, and how quickly the repeal vote could happen, I think we need to focus our efforts on pushing Sen. Collins to preserve Obamacare and ultimately vote against repeal.
I’d still like you to continue to ask her to leave the Republican party as a perennial “big ask” in your calls, but think we’re more likely to have success if we also push for an “action item” like this, something relevant to what’s happening in the Senate that the Senator is more likely to act on in the short term. I’ve modified the “What’s the Ask?” page to reflect the change in strategy, and will be sure to post when the action item changes. As we saw yesterday when a flood of constituent calls caused House Republicans to back down from gutting the House Ethics Office, focused calls on a small, specific issue can have a real, immediate impact.
So let’s keep calling. We’re just getting started!
P.S. Follow me on Twitter @pj_maine to get the most up-to-date info on the campaign.