Of the 39 House Democrats who voted for Rep. Fred Upton’s Obamacare fix — a bill that the White House said would “gut” the Affordable Care Act — the party’s two representatives-turned-Senate candidates stand out most glaringly.
Most of the Democratic defectors hail from competitive districts. Not Rep. Gary Peters, whose Detroit-area seat gave President Obama a whopping 81 percent of the vote in 2012. Or Rep. Bruce Braley, whose Iowa district backed Obama by a 14-point margin over Mitt Romney. But both congressmen are running for the Senate, and the mood toward Obamacare in their home states is decidedly more critical than in their home districts.
“President Obama promised that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it, and Iowans think that promise should be honored. That’s why I supported today’s bill,” Braley said in a statement.“There is no such thing as a perfect law, and I am heartened to support a bipartisan effort to improve The Affordable Care Act instead of countless partisan repeal votes to destroy it,” added Peters.
In July, Peters voted with Republicans on a symbolic measure that would delay the law’s individual mandate. He voted for Obamacare in 2010 and has opposed most other GOP attempts to roll back the legislation. Braley has been a more outspoken supporter. Last October, he said GOP attempts to repeal the law were “almost shocking.” Amid the HealthCare.gov website problems, Braley vigorously defended the law in an interview on the Bill Press Show last month.
Both Peters and Braley have been favored in battleground-state Senate races for the seats of retiring Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, respectively. But Peters is facing a well-funded challenge from former state Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. Braley doesn’t yet have a Republican opponent; right now he’s looking at a crowded field of GOP opposition.
What We're Following See More »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."