How An Impromptu Rally At The Capitol Became A Refreshing Discussion About Health Care

"Silence is the enemy."

At first, it was just New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and civil rights icon, Rep. John Lewis.

But by the time night fell on Monday, the Capitol Building steps were peppered with congressmen, citizens, health care workers, and cameras as Cory Booker live streamed an impromptu health care rally. Largely in protest to the new Senate heath care bill, the gathering featured conversations about everything from Planned Parenthood to the bill's Medicaid cuts.

By the time the gathering had reached more than a hundred people, Sens. Chuck Schumer, Chris Murphy, Chris Coons, and Kirsten Gillibrand had all arrived, among others. Ben Wilker, the Washington, D.C., Director of MoveOn, memorialized the event on Twitter.


The gathering came just hours after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its preliminary scores that predicted 22 million people would lose insurance under the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA), the Senate version of the American Health Care Act that's also been called Trumpcare. Since then, at least a half-dozen Republican governors have come out against the bill for various reasons.

Now, a vote on the bill has been suspended until after the July 4 recess after several Republican senators also came out opposing the bill. 

"Right now, the biggest obstacle we face is not [Republican senators], but the silence of those who could do something about it. Silence is the enemy. Apathy is the enemy. Indifference is the enemy," Booker said as towards the end of the gathering. "We've already seen in the past election when too many stay home. We have seen the consequences of that too many times."

Throughout the process, one of the chief criticisms of Republicans trying to pass the bill is that they aren't discussing it publicly. The White House has mounted few defenses of the bill, and Republican senators have given misleading and contradicting responses to questions about the bill. There have been no public hearings and little opportunity for proposed amendments or debate.

Considering that, the impromptu health care talk on the Capitol Hill steps was seen by many as a refreshing moment of political discourse around legislation that is going to effect millions of Americans.


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