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 »
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.