House Health Bill Votes Stir Political Action, Ads
The Washington Post reports that "the House's passage Saturday of a sweeping health-care bill has pushed the advertising battle over reform into a new phase, as competing groups have taken to the airwaves to thank or punish Democrats for their votes." MoveOn.org, for instance, "launched a $500,000 television campaign Monday targeting lawmakers who voted no, including first-termers such as Rep. Glenn Nye (Va.)." Another group - Health Care for America Now- is spending money thanking freshmen lawmakers from battleground districts for their "yes" votes (Davis and Pershing, 11/10).
The Hill reports that such "vulnerable" seats are sure to be hotly contested in next year's midterm elections, and health bill votes will be key to opponents' campaigns. "Many of the at-risk members could soon be on the spot again, and the reactions they get between now and then will have a big impact on the bill's future. Playing off the uncertainty, some of the 39 Democrats who opposed the bill Saturday left open the possibility of supporting an improved version" (Blake, 11/10).
In a separate story, The Hill reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn't waver on the inclusion of some public plan in the bill, even when several White House officials - including President Obama himself - didn't make a large push for the public plan. "The House's passage of the government-run plan is a testament to Pelosi's perseverance, tactics and vote-counting abilities. It's also a demonstration of how she manages the different factions of her caucus" (Soraghan, 11/9).
Politico reports that "Saturday night's House vote on health care reform was the most significant liberal legislative triumph in years, and progressives are now scrambling to capitalize on the fast-fading momentum." And, while few on the left think the House-passed measure will make it into law as is, they do hope "the 220-215 House vote will steel the spines of Democrats in the Senate, where it's currently hard to see how any bill with a public option even gets to a floor vote" (Thrush, 11/10).
Meanwhile, Roll Call reports that the GOP is taking its own tactic with Pelosi and Democrats who voted for the bill: hammering them on the bill over the Veterans Day recess. "In a letter attached to the party's 13-page district work period briefing packet, Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) encouraged GOP Members to spend the Veterans Day recess talking about how 'Speaker Pelosi's 1,990 page bill' will further ravage the ailing economy and destroy the American health insurance system if it becomes law" (Kucinich, 11/9).
ABC News reports that the Democratic National Committee is in turn targeting Republicans who opposed health reform in the House. "The DNC's plans include press events and news releases, not TV advertisements, though a party spokesman said paid ads could come later" (Klein, 11/9).