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Senators take the health-care debate to Capitol steps

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) held an almost four hour long Facebook live stream to advocate against the Republican health-care bill on June 26. (Video: The Washington Post)

On Monday night, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) gathered colleagues on the steps outside the Senate, where they talked for hours into a Facebook feed as activists filed in and out to watch the debate. The tone alternated between grim stories of people who would lose access to Medicaid, and in-jokes between the senators.

“We've brought in Papa Smurf!” said Booker when Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) arrived to join the Facebook Live talk.

“Michael Bennet is giving such an amazing speech on the floor,” said Schumer, updating the crowd. “He's so passionate and strong.”

He launched into a story he frequently tells activists, about working to help Sen. Eugene McCarthy “topple a president” in 1968. Moments later, he encouraged a cancer survivor to join the senators and tell her story.

“We're close to victory because of you!” he said, pointing into the live-stream camera.

At the same time, NARAL Pro-Choice America held a call for supporters where a trio of Democrats urged activists to keep calling senators who might vote no.

“The internal negotiations won't work if the calls are overwhelming,” said NARAL Vice President Donna Crane.

“Please call, particularly if you live in places like Maine, West Virginia, Nevada and Alaska,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

“I know you all could be watching 'The Bachelor' right now!” joked NARAL president Ilyse Hogue.