Democrats are bringing out the heavy artillery in Louisiana.
Two days after Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s campaign released its first TV ad, the Senate Majority PAC announced Friday it would hit the airwaves with its own spot. But while Landrieu’s ad focused entirely on her support for Obamacare — and her efforts to fix some aspects of the law — the outside group’s ad takes direct aim at one of her opponents, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. The third-party organization said it would run the ad statewide.
The sudden media saturation, 11 months before Election Day, underscores the three-term senator’s precarious standing in her reelection race, which has been made considerably worse by the troubled rollout of Obamacare. Just as President Obama’s approval ratings have sunk, so too have Landrieu’s.
The ad surge is an attempt to repair her image with Louisiana voters while defining her chief opponent, Cassidy, early. The Majority PAC ad didn’t step gingerly into the fray either, criticizing him for wanting to limit access to Social Security and cut Medicare.
The theme of the 30-second spot, which mentions Cassidy’s support for the government shutdown, is to portray the House member as part of the problem in Washington. Democratic strategists have said they think the Senate GOP’s reliance on House candidates this cycle offers an opening to paint them, not the Democratic incumbents, as the main problem with a dysfunctional Congress. “He’d hurt us even more in the Senate,” the ad says.
Landrieu has also been the target of an ad blitz over the past two months. The well-funded conservative group Americans for Prosperity has run $1.6 million worth of ads in the Pelican State in the past 60 days, according to a spokesman. Democrats are adamant that such ads won’t go unanswered, even if their own buys are far smaller. Senate Majority PAC last week announced it was going on air in North Carolina, where AFP has spent $3.5 million.
“For our organization specifically, we have long stated that we are going to fight back against outside conservative groups like AFP or Crossroads, who are trying to buy Senate seats,” said Ty Mastdorf, an adviser to the Democratic-aligned group. “So when AFP is spending millions in places like Louisiana or North Carolina, of course we are going to respond and fight back.”
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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.