Capitol Alert

Will California House Republicans get another chance to vote against Obamacare?

In this Oct. 27, 2016 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, visits with Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and campaign workers at Denham’s campaign headquarters.
In this Oct. 27, 2016 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, visits with Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and campaign workers at Denham’s campaign headquarters. Modesto Bee

Even as the latest Republican anti-Obamacare push appeared dead, Democrats are trying to pressure California House Republicans into taking a strong stance against repeal and replace legislation.

The Senate has until the end of the week to pass a repeal measure with a simple Republican majority. Any legislation that passes the Senate would then have to get through the House to make it to President Donald Trump’s desk.

Before Maine Sen. Susan Collins late Monday joined Republican Sens. John McCain, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in opposition, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to California House Republicans asking them to oppose the repeal and replace bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

“While I will do all I can to defeat this bill, I ask that if it passes, you put politics aside and vote in the best interest of those people you represent and help defeat this dangerous bill,” Feinstein wrote Monday in a letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield. She pointed out that the Graham-Cassidy bill would deal California the biggest financial blow, with estimated cuts of $129 billion over the next 10 years and $800 billion over the next two decades.

“If this bill makes it to the House, you have an opportunity to stop it. I implore you to do so,” Feinstein wrote in the letter, also addressed to California other 13 House Republicans, many of whom have been targets of health care protests this past week.

All 14 Republicans voted in favor of the previous failed effort. Democrats say that makes some particularly vulnerable next year. “They’re directly responsible,” said Andrew Godinich, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He noted that Graham-Cassidy is an amendment to the previous Republican bill known as the American Health Care Act, which passed by the House in May. “Their vote for the American Health Care Act allowed Graham-Cassidy to happen in the first place,” he said.

Democratic groups, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the political action committee launched earlier this year by former Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher, called Fight Back California, are hoping to flip seven Republican districts blue in 2018. Their targets, who represent large swaths of the Central Valley and Orange County, are Republican Reps. Jeff Denham of Turlock, David Valadao of Hanford, Steve Knight of Lancaster, Ed Royce of Fullerton, Mimi Walters of Laguna Niguel, Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and Darrell Issa of Vista.

Following the previous health care vote, the DCCC added Duncan Hunter of Alpine and Devin Nunes of Tulare, to their list. Again, it is seizing on Republicans, noting in a press release that Walters told Politico that she is “confident we’ll pass it in the House.”

While others have been tight-lipped about their stance on the bill, McCarthy offered his support on Twitter, saying it “returns” control over health care spending to the states and “empowers them to innovate and stabilize costs.” Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, also voiced support last week, saying Republicans have a responsibility to “fulfill the promises we made” to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said it does not comment on legislation or specific votes on legislation.

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RECALL FIGHT: California’s campaign finance watchdog will take public comment today on its decision to allow unlimited campaign contributions in recall elections, a move requested by Senate Democrats to help protect embattled state Sen. Josh Newman, a Fullerton Democrat who is the subject of a Republican-led recall fight, in part for his vote in favor of the Legislature’s gas tax increase to fund transportation.

The Fair Political Practices Commission in August issued the ruling that reverses its longstanding interpretation of state campaign finance law, which could help Newman. While the agency already adopted its opinion, it is still accepting public input. Today’s meeting begins at 10 a.m. at 1102 Q St., Sacramento.

GET OUT THE VOTE: Today, organizations across the country are expected to participate in a coordinated effort to register eligible citizens to vote, in an event they’ve deemed “National Voter Registration Day,” according to California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

State elections officials will distribute voter registration applications and other voting materials beginning at 11 a.m. on the north lawn of the Capitol.

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