Health Overhaul Supporters, Critics Duel On Airwaves
McClatchy/Miami Herald: "As a historic vote on sweeping healthcare legislation nears, Democratic moderates in the House of Representatives face relentless pressure as they juggle personal pleas from President Barack Obama, a multimillion-dollar ad barrage and constituents who are fed up with the convoluted congressional process. In the spotlight are 39 Democrats who voted against the House's original healthcare measure Nov. 7. Democrats hold 253 of the House's 431 currently filled seats, and 216 votes are needed for passage. The bill won't pass unless some of those 39 switch their positions. ... The pressure will only grow before the final vote. Interest groups on both sides plan to spend at least $10 million on ads" (Lightman, 3/17).
Politico: "To get an idea of where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to mine the last votes for health care reform, check the airwaves in the districts of about a dozen House members who are suffering a carpet bombing attack of last-minute ads." Ads are targeting conservative or vulnerable Democrats in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Arizona, New York, Florida, Indiana, Illinois and West Virginia (Cummings, 3/17).
The Wall Street Journal: Liberal groups and unions are coming to Democrats' defense, even though they aren't thrilled about the legislation. "The mobilization of key constituents of Mr. Obama's base comes amid an onslaught of lobbying by groups for and against the legislation. Republican leaders in Congress used the union and activist onslaught Tuesday to portray the final push on health care as an exercise in bullying lawmakers to vote against the will of their constituents" (Weisman and Trottman, 3/17).
CNN: "Conservative activists tried to put the brakes on health care reform Tuesday, holding rallies on Capitol Hill intended to sway wavering Democrats days before a final expected House of Representatives vote on a sweeping $875 billion measure" (Courson, 3/16).
Roll Call: "Disgruntled voters who have aligned with the tea party movement gathered in a park across from the Capitol to express their anger that the House may shortly consider a bill they view as a hostile government takeover of the health care system. Shouting 'kill the bill' and waving signs such as 'Stop being a Democrat, Start being an American,' the crowd cheered on a parade of Republican lawmakers who at times employed colorful language to denounce the bill." Meanwhile, inside the Capitol, "some health care interests were seeking to ensure that the provisions they had successfully fought for in the legislation would not be significantly altered through the reconciliation process" (Roth, 3/17).
NPR: To challenge the assumption that Democrats could not muster enough votes to create a public health insurance option, "several activist groups are airing an ad Wednesday on MSNBC and CNN in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi's home district" (Welna, 3/17).
USA Today: "As Congress nears a final vote on health care legislation, groups that oppose and support the bill have begun airing television ads that make claims about the impact it will have on Americans." The article takes a close-up look at two, by Chamber of Commerce-backed business groups and the progressive Americans United for Change (Kelley and Hall, 3/16).