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House Dems Hit GOP With First Attack Ads On Health Care

Republicans may still have to pay for their Obamacare repeal bill, even after pulling it Friday.
Image: Ben Ray Luj??n
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico is Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.Andre Chung / for NBC News

The bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act may be dead, but Democrats are still going to try to make House Republicans pay.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is launching its first ad campaign of the 2018 election cycle Monday, targeting 14 Republicans who voted for earlier versions of the bill in House committees.

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the American Health Care Act on Friday after they concluded they lacked the GOP votes necessary to pass the bill.

In the aftermath of its failure, Democratic leaders declared victory — but said they still plan to hang the unpopular bill around Republicans’ necks.

That starts with the members of three House committees that took up and passed draft versions of the Obamacare repeal bill – the Budget, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce Committees. Fourteen of the DCCC's targeted Republican lawmakers voted for the bill in one of those committees.

The DCCC ads hitting them are supported by a small buy running on on digital platforms.

But officials at the campaign arm of House Democrats say the 30-second spots are just a glimpse of what voters will see on their TVs soon and show Democrats' plan to make health care a key part of their electoral strategy for the 2018 midterms.

“This targeted ad campaign makes clear that every House Republican who voted in committee for this devastating Republican repeal bill will be held accountable from now through Election Day,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan said in a statement.

Republicans and others may object to committee votes being used against them, since several of the targeted lawmakers planned to vote against the final version of the bill on the House floor, although they never got the chance.

But Democrats remember when their own ranks were decimated by the backlash to Obamacare in 2010. The GOP showed no mercy for Democrats who voted against the final bill then, and Democrats will not now that the tables are turned.

“Republicans knowingly voted for a bill that will raise premiums and deductibles, slap an age tax on older folks, and rip insurance away from 24 million hardworking Americans. It’s critical that voters know where their representatives stood on legislation,” Lujan added.

The ads, titled “Truth,” highlight estimates by the Congressional Budget Office showing Americans would lose coverage under the GOP bill. A narrator says the GOP broke its own promises with the proposal, playing clips of Trump saying no one would lose coverage under his plan.

While the 2018 midterm elections are a long way off, the bill appears fairly toxic at the moment.

A Quinnipiac poll this week found just 17 percent of Americans in support of the GOP plan.

Here’s the full list of lawmakers targeted by the DCCC ad campaign: Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Rep. Pat Meehan (PA-07), Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03), Rep. Dave Reichert (WA-08), Rep. Pete Roskam (IL-06), Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27), Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-06), Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07), Rep. Mimi Walters (CA-45), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Rep. John Faso (NY-19), Rep. Jason Lewis (MN-02), Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16).