MARIETTA, Ga. — Republican strategists, from Atlanta to Washington, are deeply concerned that Rep. Paul Broun could be the party’s Senate nominee in the Georgia Senate race — and it scares the bejesus out of them. They fear the controversy-courting Broun could cost the GOP the Peach State’s open Senate seat and embarrass the party nationally. He’s poised to be this election’s version of Todd Akin. So how can they stop him?
— Some Republicans urge the party just to ignore him. Attacking him on air will give activists wary of the establishment someone to rally around, and it might even draw a conservative outside group to come to his aid. Better-funded candidates like Rep. Jack Kingston or businessman David Perdue can handle Broun, who has struggled to raise cash, on their own.
— Other GOP leaders acknowledge that although staying off air might be wise, that doesn’t mean they should ignore him. They want Republican primary voters in Georgia, including tea party activists, to know what’s in Broun’s background. Don’t be surprised to soon see a flurry of critical stories in the national and local media. And of note: American Crossroads says it will share its opposition research on Akin-like candidates with other outside groups, establishment and conservative alike.
— The race’s big wildcard: When do Democrats, as they did with Akin, start running thinly-disguised TV ads meant to boost Broun? Republicans universally expect it will happen, and they’re not sure how they will respond.
Democratic Michelle Nunn awaits whoever emerges from the Republican field and has been working overtime to court moderates and independents. If Broun is the GOP opponent, she may very well start the race as the favorite. Republicans are working to make sure she doesn’t get the chance.
What We're Following See More »
"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.