DC Vote-A-Rama

Indivisible RI RhodeIsland, Vote-A-RamaEzra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible explained the vote-a-rama process in a series of tweets:
“Got a Democratic Senator? Here’s how they can ACTUALLY PLAY HARDBALL on TrumpCare. Yes, they have tools to use. Yes, they can win. The hardball tactic Indivisible Team is proposing here along with MoveOn.org and CREDO Mobile is based on how “reconciliation” works. Reconciliation gives Republicans a HUGE benefit – they only need 50 votes to pass TrumpCare instead of the normal 60 votes. But it comes with a little talked about cost: vote-a-rama.
“Basically vote-a-rama means an unlimited number of amendments must be allowed. In short, reconciliation means you only need 50 votes, but you have to accept votes on a ton of amendments. Vote-a-rama is an annoyance for the party using reconciliation, but it’s accepted in order to lower the vote threshold lowered to 50.
Unlimited votes means EXACTLY what it sounds like. There is no limit to the number of amendments. Any senator can introduce dozens, hundreds, THOUSANDS. They just have to be on the Senate Floor to introduce the amendment. And here’s the thing about these amendments. They have to be introduced by a speech and voted on. AND THAT TAKES TIME.
“Let’s say it takes about 10 minutes, a conservative estimate, to introduce and then vote on an amendment. If Senate Dems introduce 1,000 amendments, that’s 10,000 minutes. 10,000 minutes = 167 hours = 7 days. So, 1,000 amendments = 1 week. Now, if Senate Dems introduce 40,000 amendments, that’s 40 weeks’ worth of amendments. That would take us through the 2018 midterms.
“SO, HERE’S THE TACTIC: This week, Senate Dems should hold a press conference with a big stack of papers. 40,000 pages to be exact. They should make a simple promise: If Republicans insist on this secretive undemocratic process for TrumpCare, they should promise to filibuster-by-amendment through the 2018 mid-terms.
“Senate Republicans want to pass this bill in darkness quickly and secretly. We can drag it into the daylight. We can defeat it. We can win this.
“No public hearings? Then we bury TrumpCare in amendments. Don’t like it? Too bad. That’s the price for subverting the democratic process. But Senate Dems aren’t doing this. Instead, they introduced a bill calling for no vote until public hearings. “No Hearing, No Vote” Act.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME, Senate Dems? What a joke. This has no teeth. This is not legislation. It’s basically just a whiny press release.
“McConnell is destroying Senate procedure to negotiate TrumpCare in secret, and Senate Dems are issuing strongly worded letters.
“GET IN THE GAME, Senate Dems. If you want to stop TrumpCare, stop being wimps and fight back. NOW is the time for hardball.
“So, constituents: if you have a Democratic Senator tell them to commit to filibuster-by-amendment. We don’t have much time. McConnell is twisting arms every day. Republicans are getting close. We can win, but we have to fight.”
We must urge Senators Reed and Whitehouse to publicly promise to participate in a vote-a-rama should the GOP bring TrumpCare to the Senate floor for a vote without holding public hearings. Our senators might act like they can’t do this out of some unspoken rule of Senate courtesy. But this is no ordinary time in the Senate—we have to pull out all the stops to stop TrumpCare.
Calls: Senators Reed and Whitehouse
Topic: Publicly Promise a Vote-A-Rama to Combat the Secret TrumpCare Bill
Please call Senators Reed and Whitehouse and ask them to publicly promise a vote-a-rama should TrumpCare be brought to the Senate floor for a vote without public hearings.
Sen. Jack Reed: (401) 943-3100 or (202) 224-4642
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: (401) 453-5294 or (202) 224-2921
Sample Vote-A-Rama (Filibuster by Amendment) Call Script is Here
How Rushing to Pass TrumpCare Could Backfire

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