Today, the Senate continues to debate President Obama's economic recovery plan. Amendments to the plan will be offered over the next few days, and we can expect predictable things from conservatives in Congress.
For the most part, conservatives will be working to strip out the most progressive and economically important aspects of the bill -- money that goes to states for a variety of programs (including important health care programs) and money that goes directly into the hands of low income or out of work people, people who need it most and who are most likely to spend it in ways that will stimulate the economy. Conservatives will be also pushing for increased tax cuts for business and the rich, including tax cuts that benefit multi-national companies with large foreign holdings. And as if they weren't trying to do enough to ruin our economy, conservatives reportedly will also offer amendments to reduce or eliminate Pell Grants, which help Americans pay for higher education.
And on the health care front, this bill contains billions in investments for health IT, Medicare and Medicaid, and COBRA, all of which will make it easier to pass health care reform for everyone later this year and all of which are in danger of being stripped if conservatives have their way.
As Bernie Horn pointed out, conservatives around the country have rallied and our beating progressives in phone calls to the Hill 100 to 1. It's key that we turn those numbers around if we're going to hold the line against the conservative onslaught or even strengthen the bill:
The legislation is now on the Senate floor. If senators perceive that Americans side with Obama in this fight -- which several polls say they are -- that will strengthen the power of progressives in the debate and we'll get a good bill. If, on the other hand, senators are only feeling the heat from conservatives, then our advocates will be weakened and we'll get a lousy bill. That's just the way things go on Capitol Hill.
Those who worked for the election of Barack Obama and are currently sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how his economic recovery bill turns out -- it's time to stop waiting. Stand up and fight!
Rock the Vote is turning their people out. Fact-esque has asked their readers to pitch in. And Health Care for America Now sent an email to our supporters this morning asking for calls. Now it's your turn.
Please, take a moment, click this link, and call your Senators.
(also posted at the NOW! blog)
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