The real action is not taking place at markup. It is taking place behind closed doors, away from the markup. When the President chose a partisan path in his speech, he pushed the real debate behind closed doors. This is now a debate among House and Senate Democrats. Republicans can influence that debate only to the extent they can change the decision-making process of Democratic members, since everyone assumes that almost every Republican will vote no.
The comments to the above linked post are utterly depressing. Elections have consequences: I wonder how the ‘Obama’ libertarians and the ‘teach the GOP a lesson’ conservatives are feeling about their respective votes, now? Yes, in a moment of frustration I am being unfair; I barely managed to pull the lever for McCain. In the comments, Keith Hennessey shows up to make the following suggestion:
Call your Representative and Senators (in their DC office). Don’t email them. Call them. Email is largely ignored. Phone calls are not. As an individual citizen, your greatest impacts are (1) speaking up at town meetings, (2) calling, (3) meeting with your representatives and/or their staff, (3) voting, and (4) letters to the editor.
Each individual call has a trivial impact. If enough people call, it can have a big effect.