Will Congressional Republicans Pay The Ultimate Price For Trying To Destroy The Healthcare System?
A couple of weeks ago an ad hoc group-- Save My Care- ran a powerful ad against vulnerable Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller, who is up for reelection in 2018 and is the most likely GOP senator to lose his seat. Heller thanked his lucky stars that he didn't have to go on the record one way or the other in regard to Ryan's botched and failed TrumpCare bill which never made it onto the floor of the House, let alone to the Senate. The 30-second spot (above) ran and certainly had its impact. Heller, reported Politico had "been quiet about the GOP’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act... the only Republican incumbent from a state Hillary Clinton won. But Heller raised significant issues to state Republicans and senior center residents about how the bill would affect the state’s Medicaid population, even as he declined to say that health care is a fundamental right." None dare call him Bernie:
“I’ve heard a lot of people say that every American has a right to an automobile,” Heller said to guffaws from liberal attendees, who frequently challenged him and at one point called him a liar. “Do I believe that all Americans should have access to health care? Absolutely, I do.”This week, the same group, Save My Care, started running over a million dollars in 30 second TV spots in 7 key congressional districts. Watch the spot; it kicks butt:
Still, Heller took a far softer tack than the law’s staunchest opponents, frequently speaking of making “changes” to Obamacare rather than eviscerating the law as some Republicans say they will do. He made no commitment to support the House-led effort to repeal the law, which could come before the Senate this month.
“Not everything in the Affordable Care Act is bad,” Heller told the crowd in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, as protesters demonstrated outside. “As we move forward and take a look at some of these changes and what’s occurring, I think we ought to embrace what’s good in the Affordable Care Act.”
His strategy on Obamacare shows the tightrope Heller is walking in a state that's trending Democratic but has a strong presence of conservative activists. Heller was critical of Donald Trump in last year's election. At the Saturday event, he urged the president to “keep his promise” to enact a trillion-dollar infrastructure program and said having a “safety net” is a core responsibility of government.
But the focus was mostly on how Heller handles Obamacare repeal. Nevada has nearly 300,000 people who have obtained insurance through the ACA's Medicaid expansion, and the state’s GOP governor, Brian Sandoval, has warned against changing it. The House bill would keep the expansion through 2019 before winding it down, although some conservatives want to begin gutting it earlier.
Heller's criticisms of the effort have been more under the radar. He faced protesters outside the Henderson event for avoiding public town hall events that have turned into forums for liberal activists. Heller has instead focused on private events and "tele-town halls" in which constituents can call in. Heller also rarely speaks to reporters in Washington, often using routes in the Capitol to avoid the media.
Asked by one person Saturday why he won’t have an open town hall meeting, Heller responded: “Did anybody force you to come today? This is a town hall meeting.” That remark led to shouting matches between Heller’s supporters and his hecklers, with one organizer telling attendees they are “acting like children.”
It wasn’t the only moment of hostility. Heller claimed at one point that the economy was entirely stagnant under former President Barack Obama despite steady growth after the recession.
“It's been eight years, eight years since I've heard a treasury secretary talk about economic growth,” Heller said. “They never talked about economic growth. You know what? We didn't have economic growth for the last eight years."
A woman shot back: “Liar, liar pants on fire.” Officials at the event then tried to remove her, according to the audio.
Heller ended the exchange with this response: “I want to thank both Republicans and Democrats for being here today.”
Indeed, the Nevada senator offered something to liberals and conservatives as part of his balancing act. He said he supports Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court and defended a recent vote to reverse regulations that required the Social Security Administration to flag people with mental illness for gun-sale background checks. Heller said he does not believe mentally ill people should be able to buy weapons, but also said that people can “recover” from mental illness and be able to keep their Second Amendment rights.
And when asked about veterans’ health care, Heller touted an Obama-era program that allows some veterans to seek health care closer to home.
“Bernie Sanders will tell you that he and I teamed up to make these necessary changes for our veterans,” Heller said. “Sanders will be the first to tell you: That when I gave him my word, I stuck with it.”
These are the districts it's running in, all top takeover targets in 2018, along with the estimated number of people who would lose health coverage if the original version of TrumpCare were ever signed into law:
• AZ-02- Martha McSally- 41,011The ad is welcoming these 7 Republicans home to their districts. It's goy to be rough on all of them, but especially Valadao, whose district is over 72% Hispanic. The bungling and venal DCCC has never managed to do it before but a competent campaign against Valadao would end one real waste of a congressional career. [Note the DCCC just hired someone whose DNA is hard-wired to lose districts like this, conservative idiot Kyle Layman, the new regional director, so... Valadao may be safe once again.]
• CA-21- David Valadao- 115,256, one of the highest numbers in the country
• CA-49- Darrell Issa- 64,727
• CO-06- Mike Coffman- 68,780
• FL-18- Brian Mast- 50,809
• FL-26- Carlos Curbelo- 78,331
• NJ-03- Tom MacArthur- 52,682
The video for Issa isn't going to go to waste. The Democrat who nearly beat Issa last time, Doug Applegate, has already been hammering him on the wishy-washy nature of his on-again-off-again-back-on-again support for Ryan's devastating anti-healthcare proposal. We reached out to Doug and he had already seen the ad. He seemed to like it too! This is what he told us last night: "Issa won't BUT I WILL be a warrior for the all of the people in California's 49th district. This ad was sponsored by Labor and Progressives. That's Labor with a capital "L" and Progressives with a capital "P." That is where I come from and that is where I will stand and fight."
If you'd like to help Applegate finish the job he started last year, please consider contributing to his campaign. Issa, notorious former car thief-- who even stole U.S. Army vehicles and sold them to chop shops in Mexico-- is now the richest member of Congress, ironically, making millions by starting and then selling a car alarm company! (Would anyone even believe that if it was in a movie script?) Issa spent $6,275,754 in 2016, for which he managed to win 155,888 votes (50.3%) against Doug, who raised and spent $2,041,091 (almost entirely grassroots money) for 154,267 votes (49.7%). You can contribute by tapping the ActBlue congressional thermometer on the right. And remember, there's no such thing as a contribution too small. Unlike Issa, Doug isn't getting bundles of corporate bribes in the form of campaign checks. He depends on people like us.