Of the 39 House Democrats who voted for Rep. Fred Upton's Obamacare fix — a bill that the White House said would "gut" the Affordable Care Act — the party's two representatives-turned-Senate candidates stand out most glaringly.
Most of the Democratic defectors hail from competitive districts. Not Rep. Gary Peters, whose Detroit-area seat gave President Obama a whopping 81 percent of the vote in 2012. Or Rep. Bruce Braley, whose Iowa district backed Obama by a 14-point margin over Mitt Romney. But both congressmen are running for the Senate, and the mood toward Obamacare in their home states is decidedly more critical than in their home districts.
"President Obama promised that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it, and Iowans think that promise should be honored. That's why I supported today's bill," Braley said in a statement.
"There is no such thing as a perfect law, and I am heartened to support a bipartisan effort to improve The Affordable Care Act instead of countless partisan repeal votes to destroy it," added Peters.
In July, Peters voted with Republicans on a symbolic measure that would delay the law's individual mandate. He voted for Obamacare in 2010 and has opposed most other GOP attempts to roll back the legislation. Braley has been a more outspoken supporter. Last October, he said GOP attempts to repeal the law were "almost shocking." Amid the HealthCare.gov website problems, Braley vigorously defended the law in an interview on the Bill Press Show last month.
Both Peters and Braley have been favored in battleground-state Senate races for the seats of retiring Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, respectively. But Peters is facing a well-funded challenge from former state Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. Braley doesn't yet have a Republican opponent; right now he's looking at a crowded field of GOP opposition.