Yesterday (November 19) Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to file cloture on the motion to proceed with the debate on health care reform. Cloture is a procedural vote to move forward to debate the Senate healthcare bill unveiled on Wednesday, and is most likely to occur on Saturday, November 21. Senators would have the Thanksgiving Congressional Recess to review the bill. Under a unanimous consent agreement, the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the bill will occur at 8:00pm on Saturday, November 21, 2009. You can view the debates on C-Span and CNN.
There is still time to make 2 calls using the toll-free number provided for people of faith: (888) 797-8717.* Urge Senators Casey and Specter to vote YES on the motion to commit the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” to the floor. See the sample message below.
Sixty votes are needed for cloture, and if that passes, to vote Sunday on a motion to proceed to the bill. This is by no means certain, as senators in both parties plus independents are threatening to vote no. A no vote would block debate on the bill itself, thereby thwarting the democratic process.
People of faith are urged to make their voices heard—even though this is just a procedural vote, not a vote on the bill itself. It also gives us an opportunity to communicate with our Senators the values we want reflected in health care reform.
The text of the amendment, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, can be found at this website: http://democrats.senate.gov/reform/patient-protection-affordable-care-act.pdf
In addition to the resources attached above, here are some other resources of education and information:
Text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009: http://dpc.senate.gov/dpcdoc-sen_health_care_bill.cfm
Comparing the House and Senate Proposals: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/11/19/us/politics/1119-plan-comparison.html?hp#tab=0
In addition, there is a good analysis of the bill at: http://pr.thinkprogress.org/2009/11/pr20091119
Introduction: Hello, my name is ________________. I am a member of (faith tradition and/or name of your congregation/organization) in (city).
Short message: I am calling Senator Casey/Specter to ask that he vote “Yes” for cloture in order to move the health care debate in the Senate forward. I am one of the majority of Americans that believe no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. Humanity is sacred, and it is a moral imperative that we enact health care reform this year so that we can live out our fullest potential as individuals and as contributing members of society. I urge Senator Casey/Specter to do all he can to make that happen. Thank you!
Longer message: If the opportunity presents itself, consider adding the following:
Real health care reform requires a system that provides REAL CHOICES that do not exist in our broken system-including a public plan that is (1) available to everyone at affordable cost, regardless of age, gender, health status, preexisting conditions, or any other factor, and (2) not constrained by limitations sought by private insurers to inhibit competition.
I urge the Senator to support a measure that permits and encourages states like Pennsylvania to experiment with single payer health care systems—publicly funded, privately delivered—to demonstrate that this kind of system can work for everyone.
Thank you for taking action!
*This toll-free number is funded by the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries and the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society in collaboration with Faithful Reform in Health Care.