With House Republicans poised to exclude funding for Obamacare from a continuing resolution needed to fund the government, vulnerable Senate Democrats could soon face another tough vote on the unpopular health care law -- and Republicans are eager to force it.
"We’ve got senators like Mary Landrieu who are up for re-election next year, that are going to be facing voters who are furious and saying, 'wait a minute, even the president has said [Obamacare] is so bad that he wants to delay for big business,' " Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., said at a National Review breakfast Wednesday.
For vulnerable senators like Landrieu, Scalise added, "That’s going to be a tough vote for them, when they face that in the next few weeks."
There could very well be serious political repercussions for Republicans if their plan unravels. Democrats, including Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, say their polling shows voters would blame Republicans if the government shuts down because the GOP kept Congress from passing a stopgap budget bill in time.
But House Republicans appear to be coalescing around the idea that forcing Senate Democrats to strip the budget bill of the provision defunding Obamacare could boost their own political standing heading into the mid-term election cycle.
At a closed-door meeting of House Republicans Wednesday, other members echoed Scalise's remarks, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., urged members to remain focused on the bigger political picture.
"What will happen in the next two weeks will come back to us during elections," McCarthy said, according to a source in the room.