Organizations buy Obamacare attack ads during recess.
Organizations put pressure on moderates
Republican leaders say Congress’ two-week recess offers a “cooling-off” period for GOP lawmakers who’ve failed to coalesce around a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, but outside groups are dialing up the heat with ad buys and talking points before they can even unpack their bags.
Moderate Republicans are feeling the squeeze, being attacked by left-wing groups for even mulling the GOP’s repeal bill, even as conservatives say the moderates need to stiffen their spines and join Republicans’ direct assault on the Affordable Care Act.
The Club for Growth, a conservative group, said Monday it will spend $1 million on ads that cheer President Trump’s repeal efforts and urge moderates to back a conservative push to let states waive the parts of Obamacare that have been blamed for high premiums.
“There’s a few moderates that have worked to thwart these efforts,” said David McIntosh, president of the club and a former congressman himself. He said Rep. Chris Collins of New York, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and eight others will be targeted in ads that will begin running later this week.
Both of those lawmakers supported House GOP leaders’ repeal bill last month, but have expressed reservations about efforts to placate the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus.
Meanwhile a liberal coalition, Save My Care, announced its own seven-figure ad buy against Republicans who either backed the GOP’s bill last month, or who didn’t issue forceful enough rejections.
Two of the targeted lawmakers — Reps. Brian Mast of Florida and Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey — represent districts carried by Mr. Trump in November. The others represents districts that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton carried. They are Reps. Darrell Issa of California, Mike Coffman of Colorado, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Martha McSally of Arizona and David Valadao of California.
The House GOP’s campaign arm will hit back this week by targeting one vulnerable Democrat per day with mobile billboards in their districts, starting with Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat who unseated longtime congressman E. Scott Garrett in northern New Jersey.
“Tell Josh Gottheimer: No to Obamacare! No to single-payer healthcare!” the billboard from the National Republican Congressional Committee says next to the congressman’s office phone number.
The NRCC will reveal the remaining targets each day during the week, though said the lawmakers represent districts scattered across the country, including both coasts and the South.
House GOP leaders thought they’d be toasting a victory on health care and focusing on a historic tax overhaul by now.
Instead, Republicans botched their first attempt, pulling the bill at the last minute after it became clear they’d lost too much support from both ends.
Conservatives said the bill was too similar to Obamacare, while moderate Republicans fretted over an analysis that estimated 24 million fewer people would have coverage under the Republican plan a decade from now. Democrats, meanwhile, are united in opposition, meaning the GOP must find more unity within its own ranks if it’s to resurrect the bill.
Hoping to forge a consensus, GOP leaders last week proposed spending $15 billion to subsidize premiums for sicker customers. The hope was to give embattled Republicans a potential breakthrough to tout to voters back home during a two-week spring break.
President Trump’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act failed. The Club for Growth said it will spend $1 million on ads that cheer repeal efforts.