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Dem group to launch bus tour in GOP districts over Republican health bill


A consortium of liberal groups is launching an effort this month against the Republican health care bill, targeting GOP lawmakers who have supported the legislation with a bus tour that will visit their states and districts during the August congressional recess.

Officials with the campaign, called Drive For Our Lives, say they hope it will pressure GOP legislators at a critical time for the American Health Care Act, which is stalled in the Senate. The tour will visit 20 states — including California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Maine, Kentucky and Wisconsin — to meet with local leaders about the bill, which Democrats say will harm citizens who receive health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

The tour, led by the group Save My Care, starts July 29 and will continue into August.

Officials say they want to mirror the pressure brought to bear eight years ago, in 2009, when tea party activists nearly derailed passage of Obamacare during an August recess famous for angry constituents confronting Democratic lawmakers.

“The American public resoundingly rejects this healthcare bill because it’s blatantly cruel and mean, especially to the 22 million people who would lose coverage,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “We cannot go back to a time when American families were one illness away from bankruptcy. I’m joining the Drive for Our Lives to make sure Americans get accessible, affordable care, not a bill that would rip away healthcare from millions to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.”

Weingarten will participate in the tour, which will also include NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, NETWORK Executive Director Simone Campbell, and the former Department of Health and Human Services External Affairs head Anton Gunn.

Democrats are confident that the Republican repeal-and-replace bill’s deep unpopularity will help them persuade Republican lawmakers to abandon the legislation. Some polls show the bill with as low as 12 percent support.

Republican senators such as Dean Heller of Nevada have voiced concern that the legislation would leave too many people without health insurance. Republican leaders in the Senate have said they will attempt to revise the bill to make it more appealing.

Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released the new Republican health care bill details on Thursday. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also spoke on the Senate floor stating the bill is not as great as it seems.

Alex Roarty: 202-383-6173, @Alex_Roarty