Meet the GOP’s Unlikely Allies Against Obamacare

Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley and Gary Peters have been supporters of the health care law. But they’re also running for the Senate.

WATERLOO, IA - SEPTEMBER 27: U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) (L) votes during early voting at the Black Hawk County Courthouse on September 27, 2012 in Waterloo, Iowa. Early voting starts today in Iowa where in the 2008 election 36 percent of voters cast an early ballot.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
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Josh Kraushaar
Nov. 15, 2013, 9:17 a.m.

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.

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