ObamaCare delay bills’ Democratic defectors staying oddly silent

posted at 9:21 am on July 19, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Wednesday night’s House votes on bills to codify into law the president’s decision to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate for one year, and also to suspend the individual mandate for one year, took a turn for the awkward when 35 House Democrats voted for the former and a full 22 voted yea for the latter.

The White House had spent the day raging about how both pieces of legislation were nothing more than yet another of Republicans’ irascible attempts to undermine the health care law, and that voting for either bill would be playing right into Republicans’ political hands. They even issued a veto threat just to emphasize how intolerably, tiresomely partisan they found the entire exercise — which probably helps to explain why, throughout the day on Thursday, only a small handful of the vulnerable defecting Democrats have so far had the inclination to speak up about why they went there, while others have declined to speak to reporters or through spokesman. Via The Hill:

Several Democrats who voted for both delays, including Reps. Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Ron Barber (Ariz.), are top GOP targets for the midterm elections.

Another two defectors, Reps. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), are favored to win Senate seats this fall. Both voted for the Affordable Care Act at its inception. …

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), who was elected in 2012, said deferring the individual mandate would “make sense” because many lower-income people will still struggle to afford coverage next year. …

In all, 14 Democratic freshman voted for both delays, including Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Elizabeth Esty (Conn.) and Pete Gallego (Texas). …

Congressman Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.), who won back his seat in 2012, repeated a refrain common to the group — that the Affordable Care Act needs some adjustment.

“I have been clear about my support for making changes to the law,” Maffei said in a statement, citing his bill to repeal ObamaCare’s medical device tax.

The White House and the Democrats alike have been hoping/trying to present a united front on this, and Democrats have been hashing out ways to sell the health care law’s positives as they head home for various recesses and in the run-up to the midterm elections in 2014… but I don’t know if that “we need to fully embrace this thing”-campaign strategy is going to stick.


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