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 WarnerGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Decaying DC bridge puts spotlight on Trump plan Overnight Cybersecurity: Dems split on Manning decision | Assange looking to make deal MORE (D-Va.), Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuFive unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race MORE (D-La.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenTrump reinstates ban on US funds promoting abortion overseas Trump poised to reinstate 'global gag rule' on Roe v. Wade anniversary: report Trump country Dem takes risk by skipping swearing-in MORE (D-N.H.), and Mark UdallMark UdallLive coverage: Tillerson's hearing for State The rise and possible fall of the ‘Card’ in politics Gardner's chief of staff tapped for Senate GOP campaign director 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 GardnerTrump applauds congressional allies as he kicks off inaugural festivities Overnight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs Overnight Tech: Trump meets Alibaba founder | Uber to make some data public | GOP Lawmakers tapped for key tech panels 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 PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (Ark.), Kay HaganKay Hagan Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (N.C.), and Mark BegichMark BegichThe future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide 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 BarberTen House seats Dems hope Trump will tilt House conducts moment of silence for Tucson shooting anniversary Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel 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.