A Facebook live stream documenting a sit-in involving two Democratic officials on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building Monday evening turned into a rally, with dozens voicing their opposition to the Senate’s health care bill.
Senate Republicans plan to bring the legislation to a vote this week, days after unveiling the text of the bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. In addition to significantly cutting Medicaid, the act would result in 22 million more uninsured people over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said on Monday. Democrats and major organizations including, the American Medical Association, AARP and the American Hospital Association oppose the bill. Some Senate Republicans have also announced they would vote against the legislation.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) stepped out on the Capitol steps Monday evening to talk health care with anyone who would listen. Booker live streamed the gathering for nearly four hours. The two elected officials were joined by colleagues from the Senate and local activists, who happened upon the conversation or joined the gathering after seeing it live on Facebook.
“So John Lewis and I are going to sit down on the Capitol steps for a while to protest Senate Republican’s efforts to repeal health care and give voice to millions of Americans who believe that affordable health care is a human right,” Booker posted alongside the Facebook live stream. “Watch, share & join us.”
“By sitting in, by sitting down, you’re really standing up,” Lewis said.
Ben Wikler, the Washington director of activist group Moveon.org, tweeted how he became part of the sit-in, describing the organic growth of the event as “kinda magical.”