Sit-ins, marches and rallies as activists around the country fight Republican health care bill

Garance Franke-Ruta
Senior Politics Editor
Protesters march around the Capitol on Wednesday. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A DAY OF ARRESTS AND SIT-INS, FROM WASHINGTON TO COLORADO. Disability rights activists have now spent two nights in Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office, where they are holding a sit-in to protest the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would cut $772 million from Medicaid by 2026. The members of the Colorado branch of the national disability-rights organization ADAPT arrived Tuesday and have been camping out on inflatable pool toys. “Cory Gardner, we will check out as soon as you commit a No vote,” they said online. Another group of protesters gathered outside his offices that evening to join their voices in opposition.

It was a day of protests at senators’ district offices and the U.S. Capitol, with the focus on keeping up the pressure on nine Republican senators who have publicly opposed or raised doubts about their support for the GOP bill.

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In Kansas, nearly 100 protesters rallied outside Sen. Jerry Moran’s Olathe district office. In New Orleans, Indivisible NOLA held “a rally to protect our care.” And in Washington, more than 40 people were arrested Wednesday in Senate office buildings. They were arrested in or outside the offices of Sens. Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), Marco Rubio (Florida), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Gardner.

Outside Toomey’s office, they chanted, “Kill the bill, don’t kill me.” Senate office protests were expected to continue Thursday. The sit-ins were organized by a coalition of groups that including Occupy Democracy, Housing Works and the Center for Popular Democracy, according to WJLA ABC7 in Washington. Others came from regional Indivisible groups, such as the very active Indivisible Ozarks from Arkansas,

In the evening, more than a thousand protesters gathered for a short march and rally — “Linking Together: March to Save Our Care” — organized by Planned Parenthood, MoveOn and a dozen other groups outside the Capitol, where House and Senate Democratic leaders spoke, along with members including Sens. Kamala Harris (California) and Cory Booker (New Jersey).

Other protesters flocked to the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, where the president was holding a closed-press evening fundraiser, and rallied outside its front door.

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On Thursday morning, a group of activists and faith leaders held a 6 a.m. Mass “praying to save health care,” according to Sen. Tim Kaine (Virginia), the former Democratic vice presidential nominee.

TOWN HALL TIME. Thirty-four of the 52 Republicans in the Senate “have not held a single town hall this year,” Vox reports.

But two of the senators who have expressed reservations about the Better Care Reconciliation Act will be holding town halls, and soon, according to the Town Hall Project, which tracks upcoming public events with members of Congress. Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told CNN this week “I’ve been uncommitted and I remain uncommitted.” The Congressional Budget Office score on the GOP health coverage bill “makes me more concerned,” he said.

On Friday, at 1 p.m. local time, he will be holding a “Flood Recovery Town Hall Meeting” at the Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge, La.

And Moran has announced a July 6 morning town hall in Palco as part of his Kansas Listening Tour.

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