Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Seattle) is one of the many Democrats celebrating Trumpcare's failure to reach the House floor this afternoon.
"It was a huge victory for organizing and for the American people," she said in a phone call with the Stranger. "After hearing the stories of people calling in and really understanding the devastation that the Trumpcare bill would have caused—cutting $880 billion from Medicaid, transferring a trillion dollars in wealth to millionaires and billionaires and insurance companies—it was such a sweet moment to see for sure that they didn’t have the votes to get it done."
Rep. Jayapal said constituent calls, e-mails, social media presence, and attendance at town halls were "the defining factor in this win."
"Our office was flooded with calls," she said. "A lot of the Republicans shut down their phone lines because they didn’t want to take the calls anymore. There’s no question that [constituent] engagement and attention to what this plan was really going to do helped."
President Trump today blamed Democrats for
bungling internal party negotiations on a piece of legislation that they've been campaigning on for over seven years the bill's demise, to which Jayapal replied, "Hahahahahahah."
"They’ve got the majority in the House," she said. "There’s no way they can blame Democrats for this, though it’s never stopped them before." She added, however, that she was proud of the caucus for being completely united in their opposition to the bill. "It was clear this was a bad deal and nobody was going to vote for it."
Though Trump and House Speaker Ryan also claimed today that they're prepared to work with Democrats on healthcare in the future, Jayapal is unsure what that would look like. Reaching a deal on current proposals to bring down the price of pharmaceuticals looks possible, but in order to move on discussions about Obamacare, she said Republicans would have to "give up this false narrative that the Affordable Care Act was a disaster."
"I don’t think their leadership is going to do that," she said. "They have too much invested in that false narrative."
The next fight, Jayapal said, is tax reform. If Republicans tried to work a trillion-dollar tax break for billionaires and insurance companies into a healthcare bill, she said, who knows how much they'll go for in a bill dedicated to reforming the tax code.
Regardless, she urges Democrats to "stay vigilant" and to "show that we can continue to win."