by Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity
At 1:00 a.m. today, literally in the dead of night, the United States Senate on a straight party line voted to move closer to the health care takeover.
60 Democrats voted YES and 40 Republicans voted NO.
(RELATED: One down, two to go: Obamacare passes first cloture vote 60-40)
In my 25 years in the political arena I thought I had seen it all for political pay-offs, crass deal cutting, and bare-knuckle threats. But, Majority Leader Reid, and sadly, even President Obama reached a new low. To avoid the blizzard of calls from their constituents, folks like you and me, most Democrat Senators actually turned off their phones as they prepared for the dead of night vote on Monday morning.
A couple of examples:
- *Senator Ben Nelson got an unprecedented deal to force federal taxpayers to pick up 100% of the cost of Nebraska's Medicaid expansion--forever.
- *Connecticut's Senator, Christopher Dodd, got a $100 million earmark for a hospital at the University of Connecticut.
- *Vermont Senators Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders, who had been threatening to oppose the bill from the Left, got an extra $250 million in Medicaid funding.
- *In Florida, Senator Bill Nelson got three counties carved out of Medicare Advantage cuts that will happen everywhere else in the country.
- *Of course we know about the "Louisiana Purchase" where Reid and Obama paid $300 million of our taxpayer dollars to the pet projects of Senator Landrieu to secure her vote.
(Medicaid expansion in Hawaii? Here's the cost >>> Obamacare punches $41M hole in Hawaii State Budget. Looks like Inouye and Akaka don't have the clout that Ben Nelson has. Too bad they're so liberal.)
Yes, this is frustrating. Yes, we lost a round in the Senate and it was a tough one.
But, we cannot give up the fight. And, we're not. After Senator Nelson's cave-in on Saturday, Americans for Prosperity sponsored a rally yesterday with one day's notice in Omaha, which Mike Huckabee flew out to headline. On the last Sunday afternoon before Christmas, the press reported that over 1,800 fired-up grassroots activists showed up to tell Senator Nelson what they thought of his sellout! CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES AND STORIES.
AFP Sponsored Rally in Omaha
In Virginia, where Senator Jim Webb was a key swing vote, we held a state tele-town hall call with Congressman Frank Wolf on Saturday and over 10,000 people joined the call with a full 5,000 of those folks staying on for extended periods of time. We asked people to go to www.TellWebbNO.com and send an email or make a call to Senator Webb and thousands did just that. He was the last Democrat to publicly announce his support for the bill, around 9:00 p.m. last night, and we will hold him accountable for caving.
Here are the next steps on the Congressional front.
The second big vote to end debate on the health care takeover bill will occur around 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
If Reid and Obama hold all 60 of their votes, then there will be one more cloture vote (to end debate) Wednesday evening and a final vote on passage of the bill sometime on Thursday.
After that, the House and Senate would have to hold a conference to work through the considerable differences in the House and Senate versions of the legislation.
Then, the health care takeover would have to pass both chambers again. That final battle would most likely take place in early January.
It's the Holiday Season. And we've been in a long hard fight. You've done so much. Sacrificed a lot. But, I'm asking you to do two last things before these final Senate votes.
1. CLICK HERE TO Contact your Senators one more time to tell them you are fully aware of all the pork-barrel earmarks, vote buying and political corruption in this health care bill. And, that you want them to reject this kind of politics and vote NO. If your Senators are Republicans, THANK THEM for voting against this bill this morning.
2. Take a moment to email your friends/family list. YOU CAN USE THIS LINK to ask them to take action by contacting their Senators today. If we can show a frenzy of activity now -- just a few days before Christmas -- that will send a powerful message.
We're winning with the American public. Every poll shows that. This political class in Washington knows that and so they are desperately trying to get this thing done now using the Holiday Season and the dark of night as cover. Let's not let them get away with it.
One last thing. I want to hear directly from you -- in your own words -- why you're fighting this health care fight as a grassroots activist. Please email email@example.com and just tell me in a few words why you're involved. I think it will be encouraging and helpful for folks around the country to hear the reasons why Americans like you are doing what you are doing.
We'll post a sampling of your words -- without using your full name -- in the next few days.
In the meantime, let's keep fighting.
PS: Remember, the next Senate vote is Tuesday morning around 7 a.m.. Let's make sure they hear from us again. CLICK HERE
And, take a moment to share with me why you're giving of your time in this battle for our health care freedom.
Join me at Facebook by CLICKING HERE.