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Progressives target Heller and Flake on Senate GOP bill

Progressives target Heller and Flake on Senate GOP bill

Two progressive groups are teaming up for a six-figure radio ad buy targeting Republican Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden eyeing Cindy McCain for UK ambassador position: report Profiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers McSally concedes Arizona Senate race MORE (Ariz.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (Nev.), using veterans from their home states to warn against siding with the Senate GOP’s healthcare reform plan. 

Stand Up America and VoteVets.org are behind the buy, first reported by The Hill, which warns that the GOP's planned cuts to Medicaid could weigh heavy on veterans. 

“Nearly 2 million veterans rely on Medicaid for our health care. But if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, Medicaid will be slashed — making it harder for veterans across Arizona to get healthcare,” veterans say in the radio ads.

“That’s outrageous and it’s wrong. You can’t repeal the Affordable Care Act and call yourself pro-veteran.”

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The ads feature two veterans, Marine veteran and Nevada resident Robert Nard and Coast Guard veteran and Arizona resident Wayne Mitchell. There are about 750,000 veterans living in the two states.

Stand Up America has also made smaller digital buys in Ohio, Maine, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania, home to senators that Democrats believe could be convinced to vote against the bill, calling on residents to call their senators and demand that they vote against the plan.

The Senate plan, released Thursday after weeks of secrecy, repeals controversial pieces of ObamaCare such as its insurance mandate, instead providing tax credits to help defray the cost of insurance premiums. 

It also includes deep Medicaid cuts, rolling back the Medicaid expansion that provides coverage for about 11 million people and eventually making changes to Medicaid that slows the growth of payment caps. 

The bill will only need a majority of senators to pass, giving the Republicans room for two defections thanks to Vice President Pence’s tie-breaking vote.

Four senators have already come out against the plan as is, although they’ve suggested they could be convinced if changes are adopted, leaving Democrats scrambling to pressure enough senators to sink the bill.

Heller and Flake are in a particular bind thanks to their vulnerable positions heading into their reelection races — they are the only two Republican senators that Democrats have a real shot at ousting. 

And Heller has received no air cover from key Republicans in his state, specifically Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has emerged as a vocal critic of the plan’s Medicaid cuts.