In the first television ad run by any candidate in Georgia’s Senate race, Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey on Tuesday issued a promise: If Obamacare isn’t repealed during his first term in the Senate, he won’t run for a second one. Gingrey’s spot focuses exclusively on the issue that national Republicans hope to ride to a Senate majority.
“As a doctor, I took an oath to do no harm,” Gingrey says in the spot while dressed in a white doctor’s coat. “And Obamacare is so harmful, I voted to repeal or defund it over 40 times.”
Gingrey’s commercial underlines the central role Obamacare promises to play in all kinds of races across the country next year. Not only are Republicans eager to force Democratic candidates to answer for the problematic rollout of the health care law, they also are using it against one another in competitive primaries. One of Gingrey’s rivals for the GOP nomination in Georgia, former Secretary of State Karen Handel, has been running radio ads in the districts represented by Gingrey, Rep. Paul Broun and Rep. Jack Kingston—all of whom are seeking the GOP nomination for the open Senate seat—saying that “Congress gets special treatment” under the health care law. And now Gingrey is upping the ante in his first ad, promising to leave the Senate if he doesn’t help repeal the law in six years.
Gingrey’s spot will run on cable over the next 10 days in Atlanta, Macon, Columbus, and Augusta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A spokeswoman said Gingrey’s campaign is spending “six figures” on the ad buy.
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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.