Senate Democratic Campaign Arm to Go After Paul Ryan’s ‘Koch Budget’

Doubling down on their focus on the Koch Brothers, Democrats are launching a new offensive against the House GOP budget released Tuesday.

David Koch attends the Metropolitan Opera Season Opening Production Of 'Eugene Onegin' at The Metropolitan Opera House on September 23, 2013 in New York City.
National Journal
Alex Seitz Wald
Add to Briefcase
Alex Seitz-Wald
April 1, 2014, 7:50 a.m.

Doub­ling down on their strategy of at­tack­ing the Koch broth­ers, Demo­crats are launch­ing a new cam­paign to tie Rep. Paul Ry­an’s budget to the bil­lion­aire con­ser­vat­ive donors Charles and Dav­id Koch.

The Demo­crat­ic Sen­at­ori­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee al­leges that the “Koch Budget,” as the cam­paign arm of Sen­ate Demo­crats is call­ing it, will hurt the middle class while help­ing rich people like the Kochs. The DSCC vows to go after not just the budget, which was re­leased Tues­day, but also Re­pub­lic­ans who sup­port a plan “bought and paid for by their bil­lion­aire back­ers.”

The DSCC’s new cam­paign will provide “highly loc­al­ized data” to voters and the me­dia on the im­pact of House GOP’s new budget, with a fo­cus on wo­men, seni­ors, stu­dents, and middle-class fam­il­ies.

“The GOP’s ‘Koch Budget’ helps spe­cial-in­terest bil­lion­aires while hurt­ing middle-class fam­il­ies, and Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate can­did­ates up and down the map will pay a price for put­ting the Koch Broth­ers’ best in­terests ahead of their states,” said Justin Barasky, a spokes­man for the DSCC.

The Koch-backed group Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity has already spent more than $30 mil­lion boost­ing Re­pub­lic­ans and at­tack­ing Demo­crats in this year’s heated Sen­ate midterm elec­tions.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id earli­er Tues­day called the Ry­an budget a “blue­print” for a “Koch-to­pia.” “We might as well call it the Koch Budget,” he said.

Demo­crats, led by Re­id, have lately gone all in on at­tack­ing the con­ser­vat­ive in­dus­tri­al­ists, with tele­vi­sion ads, web­sites, press re­leases, and so­cial-me­dia bar­rages. The strategy has been con­tro­ver­sial, even among some Demo­crats, as a re­cent Na­tion­al Journ­al poll of polit­ic­al in­siders found. But Demo­crats who sup­port the ap­proach think the Koch fo­cus will help them draw a con­trast with Re­pub­lic­ans and en­er­gize Demo­crat­ic voters, who tend to turn out in lower num­bers in non­pres­id­en­tial elec­tions.

It’s not the first time Demo­crats have used Ry­an’s budget as a punch­ing bag. Ry­an’s budget was a center­piece of the 2010 cam­paign, which Demo­crats lost hand­ily, and came up again in 2012, when Mitt Rom­ney se­lec­ted the House Budget Com­mit­tee chair­man as his run­ning mate.

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