Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) attended a rally on January 15, 2017 in Portland, Oregon to save Obamacare.
It was 15 degrees outside. But the gym was packed to capacity — with more than 600 people in attendance.
It was a single payer crowd. The biggest roar of the night came when Blumenauer said that it wasn’t enough to defend Obamacare but that we need single payer.
Two weeks later, for the first time, Blumenauer co-sponsored single payer legislation (HR 676).
“Back in 2009, Congressman Blumenauer told us that single payer was a waste time, that it didn’t have a chance,” says Portland single payer activist Chris Lowe. “The Democratic Party in Oregon has had a single payer plank in the state platform since 2012. What made Blumenauer sign onto HR 676? Part of it was the realization that the people of Oregon want single payer, that they would respond the way they did on January 15 at that rally.”
Lowe says that now Blumenauer’s staff “has been forthcoming in talking to us about how to create events to help raise single payer profile.”
“He’s getting on board with the education effort,” Lowe said. “He’s treating it seriously.”
“In some ways even more remarkable is the news a couple of days ago that Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici has also signed onto H.R. 676. She is generally seen as to the right of Blumenauer, more pro-business. Her district is more suburban — it includes the Nike campus.”
Down in Eugene, Congressman Peter DeFazio has yet to sign on to HR 676.
“We will be working on Peter DeFazio who is the most progressive member of our House delegation, and should have been on board years ago,” Lowe said.