The White House took the rare step of naming more than a dozen Democrats it worked “in close consultation” with ahead of a Wednesday announcement about changes to the Affordable Care Act.
All of the Democrats the administration cited are up for reelection in 2014, and most are either vulnerable, or find themselves early targets by the GOP for their past support of ObamaCare.
Prolonging the “keep your plan” fix to accommodate for President Obama’s broken promise about the law will avoid another wave of health policy cancellations otherwise expected in critical weeks before Election Day in 2014.
The administration’s announcement of the delay singled out 13 Democrats that helped craft that change.
The officials said Sens. Mark WarnerMark WarnerTop Senate Intel Dem: Nunes's meeting on WH grounds 'more than suspicious' Sunday shows preview: Aftermath of failed healthcare bill Devin Nunes has jeopardized the oversight role of Congress MORE (D-Va.), Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist MORE (D-La.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenPath to 60 narrows for Trump pick Overnight Finance: Trump stock slump | GOP looks to tax bill for lifeline | Trump repeals 'blacklisting rule' | Dem wants ethics probe into Treasury secretary Overnight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease MORE (D-N.H.), and Mark UdallMark UdallGorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' Election autopsy: Latinos favored Clinton more than exit polls showed Live coverage: Tillerson's hearing for State MORE (D-Co.) consulted with the administration on the matter.
Warner faces a challenge from former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie in Virginia, while Landrieu, who has consistently been a vocal critic of the botched HealthCare.gov rollout, is seeking reelection in deep-red Louisiana.
Analysts had pegged Udall as vulnerable in Colorado, but Republicans early in the year had failed to settle on a viable challenger. That changed last week, when Rep. Cory GardnerCory GardnerOvernight Cybersecurity: New questions for House Intel chair over WH visit | Cyber war debate heats up | Firm finds security flaws in 'panic buttons' Trump’s budget jeopardizes America’s public lands heritage Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (R-Co.) announced he’d be entering the race.
A similar story is playing out in New Hampshire, where Shaheen might find herself up against former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).
Republicans have vowed to make ObamaCare the primary issue in the 2014 election cycle, and have already begun hammering Landrieu and Warner over their support of the law, as well as other vulnerable Senate Democrats like Mark PryorMark PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (Ark.), Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (N.C.), and Mark BegichMark BegichPerez creates advisory team for DNC transition The future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (Alaska).
And on the House side, the administration said Reps. Tim BishopTim BishopDems separated by 29 votes in NY House primary Flint residents hire first K Street firm House moves to vote on .1T package; backup plan in place MORE (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickWomen make little gains in new Congress McCain wins sixth Senate term In Arizona, history and voter registration data gives GOP edge MORE (D-Ariz.) and Ron BarberRon BarberGiffords to lawmakers avoiding town halls: 'Have some courage' Ten House seats Dems hope Trump will tilt House conducts moment of silence for Tucson shooting anniversary MORE (D-Ariz.) provided input, as did Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who's running for Senate.
Bishop, Esty, Scott Peters, Kuster, Sinema and Barber are among members of the new Democratic coalition that arrived in 2012, and are seeking to hold on through what’s expected to be a difficult environment for Democratic incumbents in 2014.
Of that group, only Bishop and Kirkpatrick didn't join Republicans in a Wednesday vote to delay the individual mandate, which the White House had already said it would veto. Esty didn't vote - she was in her home district of New Britain, Conn., where President Obama was delivering a speech about raising the minimum wage.
And Gary Peters is the target of the Koch Brothers in Michigan, whose group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has slammed him in ads for questioning the testimony of a woman in and AFP ad who claims she suffers from cancer and has been adversely affected by the law.
In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, a senior administration official said he could “understand why some folks could look at” the changes as being politically motivated, but insisted they were not made with an eye for boosting Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections.
“The motivation here is really to implement the law in the way it should be implemented,” the official said. “This is the right way to do it, I feel like we’re doing this the right way for the right reasons.”
The official said the administration made itself “available to both parties,” but that Republicans, in the House particularly, are more interested in repealing the law, rather than helping to fix it.
That point might be a ray of hope for Democrats in 2014 – polls show the public would rather Congress work to fix ObamaCare, rather than scrap it entirely.