As one of the few red-state governors to set up a state-run health exchange, Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is taking a prominent role in touting the Affordable Care Act, putting him at odds with Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has stayed relatively silent on the law in the early months of her Senate campaign.
Grimes, who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said little about the new law as she tries to distance herself from an administration that remains unpopular in her home state. Like many other red state Democrats, she has said that she opposes full repeal and would like to fix certain areas of the law, but Grimes has yet to get specific on what changes she would make. Republicans and the local press are continuing to press her on the issue and with one of her campaign’s top surrogates praising the law, that pressure is only likely to grow.
In a New York Times op-ed published last weekend headlined “My State Needs Obamacare. Now,” Beshear urged the law’s opponents to “get over it and get out of the way so I can help my people.” Left unmentioned was McConnell.
Beshear hasn’t become any less shy in the last few days, singing the law’s praises on television, radio and in a speech in Washington on Thursday. “We’ve got the naysayers out here. They keep saying this will be a trainwreck. Well, they’re on the wrong train because this thing, so far, is a huge success,” Beshear said today in a speech at a health care symposium sponsored by the National Journal this afternoon.
Beshear has been a vocal supporter of Grimes’ campaign, and has already appeared at campaign events on her behalf. The more outspoken he is in his support for the law, the more pressure will be put on Grimes to take a firm stand. But Beshear said that he isn’t worried about the Affordable Care Act weighing down Grimes’ campaign.
Asked whether he thought the law would be a liability for Grimes, Beshear told the National Journal‘s Ron Brownstein: “I agree with you that it will probably be an issue in 2014. But I disagree with you that it will be a liability in 2014. If things continue to go as they are going right now, and people kind of open up to this, like they’re doing and listen and educate themselves “¦ the more people do that, the more people see, ‘Oh my God, the world is not ending like these people said.’”
In a brief interview with Hotline On Call, Beshear wouldn’t say whether he has specifically discussed the Affordable Care Act with Grimes, but said that she’ll likely address it more later on in the campaign. For now, he said, her focus should be elsewhere. “I’ve advised her to raise money,” he said.
Grimes does have some catching up to do. McConnell had almost $10 million in the bank at the end of June, before she even entered the race. Third quarter fundraising reports are due on Oct. 15 and will be the first real test of Grimes’ strength as a Senate candidate.
“I think she’ll have a good report. “¦ From a news media standpoint it won’t be enough — it’ll never be enough “¦ but I think it’ll be good,” Beshear told On Call.
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.