That's how much progressives pledged this week to fund primary challenges against any Democratic senator who blocks an up-or-down vote on health care reform with a public option.
It's a huge sum, and the clearest signal yet that any Democrat who helps Republicans filibuster health care reform will face an enormous backlash from the grassroots.
Here's another way to make sure conservatives think twice before joining with Republicans: Many of these senators hold coveted committee chairmanships that give them significant power within the Senate.
Our friends at Democracy for America have launched an open letter urging Senate Democrats to strip committee chairmanship from any Democrat who filibusters health care. Will you join in? Clicking below adds your name:
The message of the letter is simple. It says, "If ANY member of the Democratic Caucus joins a Republican filibuster of healthcare reform with a public option, the Caucus must immediately strip that Senator of all Committee Chairmanships."
In the Senate, the majority caucus has control over who chairs committees. Committee chairmanships are highly coveted because the chairperson has a lot of power over which bills get considered and what's in them.
But chairing a committee is a privilege, not a right. So if a member of the Democratic Caucus joins with Republicans on the most important vote in a generation, then they certainly don't deserve a position of power controlled by Democrats. The Democratic Caucus needs to make that clear to its members.
The fact that 66,000 MoveOn and Democracy for America members pledged more than $3.5 million to a primary challenge makes clear just how angry they'd be with any Democrat who helps Republicans doom health care reform. But as conservative Democrats decide what they're going to do, they should know that it's not just the grassroots they'd have to worry about if they filibuster, but also their colleagues.
Can you sign the open letter to the Democratic Caucus? Clicking below will add your name.
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Laura, Kat, Daniel, and the rest of the team
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