This article has been updated.
And why were the phones ringing? As constituents called members of Congress to express their feelings about the Republican bill to overhaul Obamacare, the American Health Care Act. According to members of Congress who shared numbers, those calls were mostly in opposition.
We’ve identified 13 members of Congress who offered figures on the calls they’d received about the bill. Some, like Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), were vague.
Others, like Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-N.Y.), used estimates, telling the Huffington Post that calls were running about 1,000-to-1 against.
A number offered specific totals. Most of them, it’s important to note, were Democrats, offering the figures precisely to cast the bill in a bad light. (And, of course, their Democratic-leaning districts were more likely to oppose the bill anyway.) But not all were.
Consider Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).
If we break that out as a graph:
That’s 98.6 percent opposed — in a district that voted for Donald Trump last year by a 36-point margin. Mind you, it can be hard to tell how many of those calls are from Massie’s constituents, but this is still what his office heard.
Then there were all of the Democrats.
Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.):
For the record, I've received:— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) March 23, 2017
1,241 calls, emails, and letters asking me to oppose Trumpcare
1 call asking me to support it.
Rep. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.):
Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.):
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.):
Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.):
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.):
Rep. David E. Price (D-N.C.):
(It’s actually 94 percent opposed.)
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.):
Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.):
In total, excluding Donovan’s estimate, that’s 493 calls or notes in support of the bill — and 17,538 against. It’s only 10 districts, nearly all Democrats, but it’s still a 35-to-1 margin of opposition. (See update below.)
What we haven’t seen are figures from a Republican legislator showing a more even balance among constituent calls. (We’re happy to add to this if you have! Send them our way.)
It’s critical to note that Democratic groups are organizing calls in opposition to the bill, which is helping to drive these figures. On the other side, there aren’t many conservative groups actively supporting the bill, and therefore not many groups encouraging people to make a call of support.
One powerful voice that has encouraged people to call members of Congress: President Trump.
If offices are being flooded with calls of support, we haven’t yet heard about it. The evidence at hand suggests that offices are being flooded with calls in opposition.
That’s hard for a politician not to notice.
Update: So it seems that Kildee helped kick all of this off, and he’s been retweeting other Democrats who are reporting their numbers. We’ve added a number more below. The grand total, once these are included? Nearly 1,100 calls in support of the bill — and over 52,000 in opposition. We’ve updated the figure in the headline, since that’s a nearly 49-to-1 ratio.
Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.): 98.2 percent opposed.
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.): 98.7 percent opposed.
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.): 96.6 percent opposed.
Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.): 97.6 percent opposed.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.): 98.7 percent opposed.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.): 97 percent opposed.
Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.): 96.5 percent opposed.
Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.): 98.8 percent opposed.
Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.): 100 percent opposed.
Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.): 97.9 percent opposed.
Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.): 98.6 percent opposed.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.): 93.9 percent opposed.
Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.): 96 percent opposed.
Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.): 99.5 percent opposed.
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.): 96.7 percent opposed.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.): 99 percent opposed.
Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.): 97.1 percent opposed.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.): 99.9 percent opposed.
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.): 99 percent opposed.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.): 97.1 percent opposed.
Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Calif.): 97.4 percent opposed.
Update: Another addition to the total.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.): 99.2 percent opposed.
That’s a combined 1,130 messages in support — and 59,337 opposed.