This Sunday, when you gather to watch America’s favorite game, take the opportunity to up your patriotism: contact your Senators and ask them to do the right thing.
What's the Difference?
The votes that happened last week – the Senate and House voting “yes” on the budget resolution bill – was NOT a vote to repeal the ACA. There have been many, many news articles with misleading information on this. The confusing part is that there are two steps to this process:
- The budget resolution (which was last week’s vote) was a vote to set the rules that would essentially allow the ACA to be defunded through budget reconciliation with only a 51-vote majority, rather than with a filibuster-proof 60 votes. In the Senate, the resolution passed 51-48 (with Senator Heller being the only Republican to vote no). Now, the budget reconciliation vote can move forward – but so far, nothing has actually happened to the ACA.
- The budget reconciliation vote is the vote that would actually defund the ACA. Congress has the ability to put anything that has an affect on the federal budget into this bill. Now that the resolution has been passed, Congress will spend the next few weeks crafting the reconciliation bill. If passed, this is the bill that would, essentially, repeal the ACA. A vote will happen on this bill anytime between mid-February to early March.
There are some things about the budget resolution vote that are important to note. First of all, both of TN's Senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, have said publicly that they do not want to see a repeal of the ACA without a replacement plan in place, first. This would lead us to believe that they would vote no on the budget reconciliation vote – but their "yes" votes on the budget resolution bill show that they are still willing to possibly move forward with repealing the ACA without replacing it first. If they really, fully intended on not repealing until there's a replacement, they did not need to vote yes on the budget reconciliation bill.
So: it’s time to buckle down. There's never been a more crucial time to be engaged with this issue. There's work to do.
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Moving On Up... of the Parking Garage
This week, with the assistance of my boys, I cleaned out my office of the last 14 years. I didn't expect it to be a remarkable experience. It is, after all, just a place where I work. And yet, a tidal wave of emotion caught me as I took down Wonder Woman, a hundred pictures of my boys over the years, my aunt Mary's original art work, and inspiring quotes and images. I realized how formative this place has been for me and for TJC, and how I will carry its lessons with me into our new space and new adventures.
Here in this basement of a parking garage, we have suffered crushing defeat and celebrated miraculous victories. I have nursed my infant while prepping for depositions, teamed up with internationally-respected law firms for grueling trials, and survived both a sewer gas leak and a polar vortex flood. We have gotten Darius brain surgery, (photo above), Beverly a new liver, and saved the Worshams' home. We provided day care to 6 office babies and hosted visits from the New York Times, the Daily Show and countless elected officials. It is here that we learned just how resilient we are. In this tornado shelter that no one else wanted, we learned that seeds of love and justice will bloom in their time - just in the nick of time.
We are moving to a place that resonates with our values: the building welcomed hungry women and children during the Great Depression and was a place for suffragists to strategize during the key 1920 legislative session that gave American women the right to vote. The move will give us more room for the growing corps of volunteers and staff who want to join in this work. We need all the resources we can gather for 2017. It is no exaggeration that every program that we have used to improve our clients' lives for the last 21 years is in jeopardy.
The offices we are leaving have given us a 14 year boot camp in fighting hard fights and not just surviving, but thriving. We will miss the space and use the lessons for what is sure to be our biggest fight ever.
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Announcement of a special Medicare enrollment break that CMS is giving to Tennessee residents affected by recent wildfires and tornadoes.