Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz doubled down Wednesday on her outspoken defense of Obamacare, challenging her opponents in the multicandidate primary to speak up and take pride in a law many Democrats have shied away from embracing. In a 30-minute call with reporters, Schwartz vigorously defended the law’s successes and promised voters would hear more of the same on the campaign trail.
“I will say it quite a few more times in this campaign: I’m very proud of my work on the Affordable Care Act,” said Schwartz, who as a congresswoman was the only candidate in the Democratic field to actually vote for the measure.
Earlier this week, Schwartz released a new TV ad touting the ACA, one of the few Democrats to go out of her way to support a law that’s unpopular with most voters. Her pivot to put the issue front and center makes her the most prominent Democrat in the country to do so this cycle, and turns the heat up on other Democrats in Pennsylvania and nationwide who have scrambled to dodge the law’s more controversial aspects.
For Schwartz, publicly backing the law also represents a gambit that its relative popularity with Democrats will help her make up ground in the primary, where she trails the front-running former state Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf. She repeatedly called out Wolf for being “evasive” and “quiet” about the law and questioned whether voters could trust him to defend and carry out the full breadth of the law’s potential.
“I have not heard that from anyone else, certainly not from Tom Corbett and not from the other Democrats either,” Schwartz said.
During the call, Schwartz ticked off a list of the law’s positives, including a ban on denying insurance coverage to children with preexisting conditions, closure of the donut hole on prescription-drug coverage for seniors, and provisions that not only benefit the working poor but improve the quality and bring down the cost of plans offered through private insurers. Republican efforts to repeal the law in its entirety would deny Americans of those broader improvements, she said, not just halt its more controversial elements.
Critics have suggested that Schwartz’s ad isn’t risky becuase she’s using it in a Democratic primary in a state where the party still likes President Obama. But Schwartz made it clear that were she to win the May 20 primary, she would campaign just as aggressively on the law’s positives in the general election against Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.
“In the general election I will go toe-to toe with Tom Corbett on implementation of the ACA,” she said. “I’m happy to have that debate and I’m looking forward to having that debate.”
Schwartz’s strategy will please many progressive Democrats, who have urged the party to aggressively embrace the law and its positive, and a certain former president. In a March interview with Real Clear Politics, Bill Clinton told Democrats to stop running away from the law’s problems and start standing up for its successes. He called Democrats’ “tendency to shy away from things they had done that were unpopular” a “mistake.”
What We're Following See More »
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.