Under growing political pressure, House Republicans’ campaign arm has overhauled a series of controversial campaign websites that are designed to, at first glance, appear as if they support Democrats.
The National Republican Congressional Committee changed the donation page to make it clearer to potential contributors that their money wasn’t going to the smiling Democrats pictured but instead to the Republicans.
National Journal first reported in December that the websites’ deceptive designs could leave voters confused and also violate federal election rules. Since then, two news outlets have found donors who have been duped by the sites.
The NRCC has steadfastly defended the websites, even as Democrats complained more loudly in recent weeks. A Democratic group in New Jersey recently filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.
Andrea Bozek, an NRCC spokeswoman, said in an email, “We recently updated our contribution pages, as we frequently do, to highlight our efforts to defeat House Democrats in 2014 and prevent Nancy Pelosi from ever being speaker of the House again.”
Even after the change, the home pages of the dozen-plus faux sites remain the same, with a URL (such as nickrahallforcongress.com) and big, bold headline (“Nick Rahall for Congress”) suggesting it is the Democrat’s official site. Below, the sites offer biting critiques and reasons to oppose the pictured Democrat.
Bozek remained unapologetic about the sites. “It’s no surprise that Democrats are nervous that the truth is finally getting out about their disastrous records, but despite their whining, we plan on continuing to showcase their support for Obamacare and other failed Washington policies straight through to Election Day.”
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"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
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."
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.