There's growing interest in seeing the Congress forgo its scheduled August recess, if necessary, to continue work on health care reform legislation. Mcjoan's been talking about it. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC-06) has been talking about it. Now it's your turn to talk about it.
And in fact, many of you already are, thanks to efforts here like those from slinkerwink, who's been pointing you to a petition drive at Firedoglake asking for exactly that: for Congress to stay in session and get this job done.
Now, I'm not a big petition fan, myself. And there's a pretty good chance that Congress will ultimately decline to deliver on the specifics demanded by this petition, as they do with so many others. And we can debate all day, any day, about just how beholden they should be to the thousands of petitions of varying degrees of merit directed their way every day. We can even debate whether or not "recess" is really as much of a "vacation" as people like to make it out to be when they're getting hot and bothered about it.
But when there's even the slightest foot in the door, where members are saying, "Make me do it," and the legislation is this important...
And when industry opponents of meaningful reform are poised to spend millions bombarding members and the public with attack ads during the recess...
And when industry lobbyists are poised to spend millions more in campaign contributions meant to steer members' votes toward sympathy with the business side of health care, necessarily to the detriment of the people side of health care...
And when every day of delay means more momentum lost...
And when three weeks of delay means:
- 143,250 people will lose their health insurance coverage [pdf]
- 53,507 people will file for bankruptcy because they can't pay their medical bills
- 1,265 people will die [pdf] because they lack coverage
...then it's worth taking a shot. Don't you think?
And no, this petition doesn't have to result in the immediate abandonment of the recess and the sudden passage of everyone's dream bill overnight. It doesn't even have to "work" to work. Congress may very well go home for August without having finished the job. But that just means they'll be back home... where you are.
And if you've asked them to stay and do this work, and instead they leave it on the table but come back to where you can reach them, and where you can visit their offices, and where you can see them at county fairs, town hall meetings, fire station openings, and all the things they've come back home to do...
And if, when you see them, your demand that they stay in DC to finish this work is top-of-mind, well then, you're in a position to let them know it.
This petition may not force anyone to stay in DC. But signing on means members can expect many thousands more citizens to actively be ready and waiting for their arrival home, to give them a piece of their minds.
So why not sign on, make yourself ready, and let your representatives in Congress know it?
You'll be glad you did. And if you're lucky, so will your members of Congress. If you're not so lucky, well, why not take a minute to make your members of Congress sorry you did? Everyone involved deseres to see your name on this petition.
UPDATE: Yes, I'm aware of what Harry Reid just said. The Senate lives in its own world, and they're gonna do what they're gonna do. The House can change the dynamics of the world the Senate faces when they return by staying in and finishing their work. And you can change the dynamics of the Senate's world, too, by getting on their backs and staying on them.