Conservative group targets Kelly, Hassan over $3.5T spending plan

Conservative group targets Kelly, Hassan over $3.5T spending plan
© Greg Nash

A newly formed conservative group is launching an ad campaign targeting Sens. Mark KellyMark KellyAnti-Trump Republicans target McCarthy, Scalise, other high-profile conservatives Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Arizona attorney general asks for restraining order to block federal vaccine mandate MORE (D-Ariz.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanPoll: New Hampshire Senate race tight Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Democratic incumbents bolster fundraising advantage in key Senate races MORE (D-N.H.) over a massive government spending package that Democrats are hoping to approve without GOP support. 

The effort by the political nonprofit Common Sense Leadership Fund is being led by Kevin McLaughlin, a longtime Republican operative who served as the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2020 election cycle. 

The campaign is geared toward reaching swing voters in New Hampshire and Arizona with television, radio and digital ads, as well as with grassroots activities. 

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The effort is looking to seize on voters’ concerns about the price tag of the spending package  $3.5 trillion  and Senate Democratic leaders’ plans to pass the measure through a process known as reconciliation, which wouldn’t require any GOP votes in the evenly divided chamber.

“This partisan budget is a Liberal wish list of special interest kickbacks that will result in fewer individual choices, less jobs and higher taxes for everyone,” McLaughlin said in a statement. 

“It will increase the cost of living for working class families and force us into socialist price controls that will restrict medication choices and send manufacturing to hostile nations like China, putting us at their mercy.”

The campaign’s inaugural targets are Kelly and Hassan, both of whom are expected to face competitive reelection races next year. The effort will eventually expand into other states. 

Senate Democrats approved a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint last week, and the House is expected to take up the resolution next week during a brief return from its August recess. The resolution lays the groundwork for Democrats to pass an actual spending bill without any Republican support.

While all 50 Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of the budget resolution, two of them  Sens. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten Sinema21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Vulnerable House Dems push drug pricing plan On The Money — Will the billionaire tax survive Joe Manchin? MORE (D-Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report 21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill Democrats try to back Manchin off killing paid family leave proposal MORE (D-W.Va.)  have already expressed concern about the size of the spending package. 

At the same time, a group of moderate House Democrats is threatening to tank the budget resolution unless the House first takes up a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that has already been approved by the Senate. 

Republicans have cast the $3.5 trillion spending proposal as an irresponsible cash dump that will raise taxes and worsen inflation at a time when prices are already on the rise. The ad campaign from the Common Sense Leadership Fund seeks to play on those concerns. 

“We intend to take our messaging across the country wherever common fiscal sense has a chance to prevail over blind partisan loyalty, and convince more lawmakers to side with Americans against this irresponsible spending package,” McLaughlin said.