Sen. David Durenberger, a Republican who held a Minnesota seat from 1978 to 1995 and served as chairman of the Senate Finance subcommittee on health, has a message for current Republican senators: "Resist the bullying. Don't vote for a mystery health care bill." As he writes, it is a mystery, and Mitch McConnell has made it so on purpose.
He details all the things that McConnell is purposely keeping them in the dark about: what bill they're supposed to vote on Tuesday; what the Congressional Budget Office has to say about key amendments and the final bill; what he's promising to the Medicaid expansion states; what this means for all state budgets; what he's going to sneak in at the last minute. "Without even knowing which bill you are being asked to vote on, what the defining amendments will be and how much time you will have when being pressed for a final vote you’ll be stuck with. Forever."
A vote in these circumstances will rightly provoke anger and distrust unlikely to abate. Take it from me: A no vote on the Motion to Proceed this week is the only one that will be defensible in the years to come.
I have had my arm twisted by the best of them—presidents and Senate leaders and party whips alike. I know how uncomfortable it can be. Usually, they were able to attempt a convincing argument about what is good about the bill for the country or my state. But I never would have voted for something so far reaching without knowing the answer to all the questions above.
Never in all my years did I experience the level of bullying we see today. It doesn't look good in Minnesota, and I suspect it doesn’t look any better in your state. [...]
[T]here are no do-overs. The vote for the Motion To Proceed is likely a vote for final passage, and the House clearly stands ready to pass the Senate bill unchanged.
There is no making good on all of the issues later. Once the funds for health coverage are gone, it will take new tax increases to replace them. And what’s the likelihood that will happen?
There will be no hiding this vote.
This is a fellow Republican, one who surely does not want to see his party fail. Maybe current Republicans figure between Russia, voter suppression, and gerrymandering they don't have anything to worry about electorally. But maybe they should listen to a colleague and think not just about their political futures, but what it is they're doing to their states—and to their constituents, who are human beings.
Make your Republican senator feel the heat. Call their office EVERY DAY at (202) 224-3121 to demand that they say NO to repealing Obamacare and ripping health care away from millions of Americans. After your call, tell us how it went.