Red-state Senate Dems never folded during shutdown
House Republicans concede that they were surprised that red state Senate Democrats, especially those running for re-election in 2014, stuck with Obama and their leadership on what could prove next November to be very costly votes. House Republicans sent bills to delay Obamacare’s individual mandate and repeal the medical device tax, which several Senate Democrats support, plus legislation to end the unpopular employer health care contribution for members of Congress and staff.
But these Democrats said agreeing to Republican demands to alter the health care law — even in a manner they might otherwise support — would have legitimized the shutdown tactic, which they considered an unacceptable way to govern. Democrats also said that they don’t feel the political pressure to drop their support for Obamacare given the results of the 2012 elections, when Obama won re-election and Democrats gained two Senate seats.
“I have a lot of criticisms of the health care law. But holding something hostage when we have important work to do … it was just absolutely the wrong form,” said Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who won a North Dakota seat last year as an Obamacare supporter even though Obama got hammered in the red state by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.