Celebrate Congress’ July 4th Recess by Getting Engaged and Advocating for
Independence for People with Disabilities!
Here’s your guide to effective activism July 1 – July 11
The July 4th recess is a critical time for the future of the Senate health care bill, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (BCRA). Senate leadership will use this time to negotiate with Republican Senators who currently oppose or are leaning “no” on the bill, offering new concessions to bring them on board, but nothing will fix a bill that is fundamentally flawed and that will cause immense and irreparable harm to the Medicaid-funded services that people with disabilities rely on. We need all members to step up their advocacy efforts over the next week.
Medicaid = INDEPENDENCE, and nothing is more patriotic than engaging with your elected officials!
Three ways to take action are covered in this guide – Calling, Showing Up, and Using Media.
CALL YOUR SENATORS!
Calling is more effective than emailing, and takes under two minutes. Use our call tool to locate the contact information for your Senator and see our sample script.
- For Republicans who oppose or have expressed concern about the BCRA: Thank them for their thoughtful approach to the bill and their leadership in standing firmly against bad policy in the BCRA. Ask them to commit to vote against any bill that would harm people with disabilities by cutting or capping Medicaid.
- For Republicans who support the bill or are undecided: Urge them to vote against the BCRA, which would cap and cut Medicaid, harming people with disabilities.
- For Democrats: Thank them for continuing to oppose the BCRA.
If you cannot get through or if the voice mail box is full, keep trying! Call both your Senator’s D.C. office and their local office(s). There is no such thing as calling too much! At least once a day will make a huge impact!
An in-person conversation or contact is the most effective way to communicate your message. Go to where your Senator is, and if you can, take a picture and post it to social media! There are many ways to show up over the recess.
Many elected officials will participate in community 4th of July events (parades, cookouts, fireworks, etc.). Go there! Hold a simple sign where they will see it (e.g. “Medicaid = Independence for People with Disabilities”, “Don’t Take Away Medicaid”, “No Medicaid Caps or Cuts”). If you have an opportunity to politely engage in a conversation about the BCRA, take it!
In-State Office Visits:
The recess is a great opportunity to schedule a visit with your Senator or their staff to discuss concerns with the BCRA and how it will impact providers and people with disabilities. Visit your Senator’s webpage to find their local office contact information, and schedule a visit! We have information and talking points available on www.disabilitysos.org.
If your Senator is holding a town hall, show up! Keep in mind that Senators are being targeted by lots of groups that have widely differing opinions and approaches to the BCRA (and other issues), which can be intimidating. Some Senators will restrict admission to their public events for groups that appear to be coordinated or confrontational, in favor of ensuring that a representative group of constituents is in attendance. Some things that might keep you from getting into a town hall are wearing the same shirts/coordinated colors or carrying signs. If you want to convey a coordinated message, try wearing pins or stickers that you can put on after you are in the venue!
The following resources are available to help you know what events may be happening in your area. ANCOR has not planned or organized these events, and does not take a position endorsing them.
The extra time gained by the delayed vote can be used to write letters to the editor or op-eds that specifically mention the Senators’ names, as these will be seen those offices because they regularly search for any mention of the Senators’ names. You can also contact a local paper’s editorial board and ask them to write an opinion piece. Please contact Doris Parfaite-Claude (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need assistance on writing an op-ed or letter to the editor.
Social media is a powerful advocacy tool that lawmakers pay attention to! Posting to your Senators’ official Facebook page and/or tweeting at them is a fast, effective way to express your concerns with the BCRA!
- Use hashtags – #SaveMedicaid, #VoteNoBCRA, #NoBCRA #NoCutsNoCaps
- Always tag your Senator! If using Facebook, post to their wall. If using Twitter, use their official “@” handle (list of handles available here:(http://www.socialseer.com/resources/us-senator-twitter-accounts/)
- Make your post public to ensure they will see it!
- You can post/tweet photos too for maximum impact! Take a photo attending an event, a meeting, or a picture showing community supports in action!
To thank Senators for opposing BCRA:
- Thank you @[SENATOR] for voting #NoBCRA. People with disabilities are counting on you to #SaveMedicaid.
- @[SENATOR] knows #BCRA cuts to #Medicaid will harm people with disabilities. Thank you for voting #NoBCRA. #SaveMedicaid #NoCutsNoCaps
To highlight recent Congressional Budget Office Findings (right-click to save the pictures):
- @USCBO expects that cuts to the Medicaid program to continue after their 10 year estimate due to #BCRA #votenoBCRA
- @USCBO estimates that 15 million Medicaid will lose Medicaid coverage under #BCRA #votenoBCRA
- @USCBO highlights ways states will respond to a reduction in federal Medicaid funding under the per capita cap proposed in #BCRA #votenoBCRA
- #Medicaid = Independence for people with disabilities. Don’t take away their services! #SaveMedicaid #NoBCRA
- Less money means LESS flexibility for states #NoBCRA #SaveMedicaid #NoCutsNoCaps
- Less money means fewer disability services for the people who need it most! #SaveMedicaid #NoBCRA
- Medicaid helps PWD get and keep jobs so they can be taxpaying citizens & full members of their communities #SaveMedicaid #NoBCRA
- Medicaid helps support kids with disabilities so they can get the free, appropriate education they deserve #SaveMedicaid #NoBCRA
- Unpaid caregivers (like parents) save taxpayers $450 billion a year. Cutting their support hurts everyone. #SaveMedicaid #NoBCRA
- Waiting lists are already years long. Medicaid cuts & caps would make them even longer. #SaveMedicaid #NoBCRA
- Cutting & capping Medicaid makes the Direct Support Workforce crisis worse. #SaveMedicaid #NoBCRA
If you have any questions or need help engaging over the July 4th recess, your ANCOR GR team stands ready to help!
Esmé Grant Grewal, Senior Director of Government Relations
Katherine Berland, Director of Public Policy
(703) 535-7850, ext. 104
Doris Parfaite-Claude, Government Relations Manager
(703) 535-7850, ext. 108
If you are interested in continuing to advocate after this weekend and wish to be part of an active, learning advocacy community, please consider joining committed providers in ANCOR’s Grassroots Committee, co-chaired by Todd Goodwin and Norm Munk. For more information, please contact Doris Parfaite-Claude.
Click to down load the July 4th Recess BCRA Advocacy Guide!