Democrats Who Voted ‘No’ On Overhaul Face Campaign Fire, Calls To ‘Defund’ Reform Grow LouderThe Hill: Labor unions are living up to their pledge to target and spend campaign dollars against Democrats who voted against the health overhaul. "The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), for instance, has spent almost $300,000 on direct mail and other activities in support of union activist Mac D'Alessandro's primary challenge to Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.)." The primary in that race is Tuesday (Miller and D'Aprile, 9/14).
MSNBC: "While progressives and organized labor threatened last spring to field challengers against Democrats - such as South Dakota's Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and New York's Rep. Michael Arcuri - who voted against Obama's health care plan, D'Alessandro was one of the few who ultimately stepped forward. In New Jersey, first-term Rep. John Adler, another one of the 34 Democratic 'no' votes, easily defeated a challenger in the June 8 primary. As of the end of August, the Lynch campaign had more than $1 million in cash, compared to only $158,000 for D'Alessandro. Lynch has aired one television ad while D'Alessandro has been absent from TV. [D'Alessandro] is on leave from his job as the New England political director for the union" (Curry, 9/13).
Politico: In the meantime, Tea Party candidates are "asking Republican congressional leaders to include cutting funds to implement the new health care law in a contract the GOP plans to roll out later this month. On Monday, the Tea Party Express and DeFundit.org sent letters to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) seeking support." The Tea Party groups fear that if the Republicans win majorities in Congress they "might get too complacent and drift away from conservative principles. For instance, at the conference of the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington on Saturday, Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin said that members need to keep Republicans accountable if they regain control of the House or Senate or both" (Aujla, 9/13).
The Hill, in a separate story: The White House is expressing criticism for the health overhaul defunding proposals. "Defunding healthcare reform, as some Republicans have suggested, 'is just Washington-speak for taking us back to the days when insurance companies - not you and your doctor - were in control of your care,' Stephanie Cutter wrote Monday on the White House blog" (Pecquet, 9/13).
CongressDaily: Finally, if the GOP takes over either house in Congress in November, America is poised to see big changes to the leadership of "health-related committees and a possible dismantling of President Obama's signature healthcare law."
"Republican-led committees in charge of health policy and spending, especially the Labor-HHS Appropriations subcommittees, could prevent any discretionary funds from being used to implement the healthcare law or support a sizable number of authorized programs. And with Republicans at the helm, committees are almost certain to ramp up oversight of the law's implementation. There would be little interest in applying the 'fixes' that Democrats quietly acknowledge are needed to the nearly 2,000-page bill." CongressDaily runs down the changes that could be made to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the appropriations subcommittees (McCarthy, 9/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.