The GOP-backed health care measure passed the House Thursday
It was a close vote
Fourteen of the most vulnerable House Republicans – those from congressional districts Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016 – voted Thursday to back the Republican health care bill. It’s a decision Democrats hope to hang over their heads for the next 19 months.
Clinton won 23 congressional districts in 2016 that are now represented by Republicans. Only nine of those members decided to buck their party and vote against the American Health Care Act, the Republican-backed repeal of President Barack Obama’s signature health care achievement.
By backing the bill, the 14 vulnerable Republicans are all but guaranteeing they will hear about their vote on television, from opponents and at town halls throughout the 2018 cycle. And after the Republican plan passed the House, the the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pledged to hold this vote to the members.
“Make no mistake about it: every single House Republican bears the responsibility for this heartless legislation, and the passage of this bill will haunt them through Election Day,” Ben Ray Luján, the committee chairman, said in a statement.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made this case bluntly on the House floor Thursday.
“You have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead,” she said to Republicans. “You will glow in the dark with this one, you will glow in the dark.”
Republicans made similar promises in 2009 after the House and Senate backed Obamacare – they proved to be correct. Democrats lost the House in 2010 during a wave election for Republicans. They also lost the Senate to Republicans in 2014.
House Speaker Paul Ryan nodded to this fact during his speech on the floor before the vote.
“A lot of us have been waiting seven years to cast that vote,” he said. “Many of us are here because we pledged to cast this very vote.”
But those Republicans tasked with protecting these vulnerable members have argued that they have all been tested in tough districts and that they understand their areas better than most.
Some of the Republicans from Clinton districts who voted for the health care repeal bill stood by the vote afterward by physically standing behind the president as he touted the incremental win.
Two vulnerable Republicans from southern California – Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Mimi Waters – stood near Trump as he touted the victory.
The DCCC announced after the vote on Thursday that they were starting a digital ad campaign against Issa, Walters and 28 other Republicans.
14 Republican “yes” votes from Clinton-won districts:
- John Culberson (TX-7)
- Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)
- Jeff Denham (CA-10)
- Darrell Issa (CA-49)
- Steve Knight (CA-25)
- Martha McSally (AZ-2)
- Erik Paulsen (MN-7)
- Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)
- Peter Roskam (IL-6)
- Ed Royce (CA-39)
- Pete Sessions (TX-32)
- David Valdadao (CA-21)
- Mimi Walters (CA-45)
- Kevin Yoder (KS-3)
9 Republican “no” votes from Clinton-won districts:
- Mike Coffman (CO-6)
- Barbara Comstock (VA-10)
- Ryan Costello (PA-6)
- Will Hurd (TX-23)
- John Katko (NY-24)
- Leonard Lance (NJ-7)
- Pat Meehan (PA-7)
- Dave Reichert (WA-8)
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27)