The WFP Flexes
ICYMI, this was today’s Morning Memo:
The labor-backed Working Families Party has fired a warning shot at two Democrats who broke ranks with their party along with seven others to vote with the GOP on a vote that would have ended the government shutdown, accusing them of siding with “Tea Party bullies trying to stop Obamacare.”
On Monday night, after Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Dan Maffei voted “yes” on a measure that would have repealed the Obamacare carve-out for Congress and delayed the individual insurance mandate for a year, the party sent its members an email alert with the subject line: “You thought we weren’t going to find out?”
“Monday night, two New York Congressional Democrats, Dan Maffei and Sean Patrick Maloney, showed solidarity – with John Boehner,” the email signed by WFP State Director Bill Lipton read.
“They sided with Boehner and the Tea Party Republicans in an attempt to delay the Affordable Care Act – blocking millions of uninsured families from getting access to affordable health care and leading to the shut down of the federal government. We voted Reps. Maffei and Maloney into office because we wanted better government, not no government at all. ”
“…Tell Reps. Dan Maffei and Sean Patrick Maloney that we didn’t send them to Washington, DC to vote with the Tea Party to shut down the government.”
The email includes a link to an on-line petition that the WFP plans to send to the two Democrats.
Maloney and Maffei, both of whom are freshmen (although in Maffei’s case, this is his second time around in the House) representing marginal districts, have been on the defensive about this vote. Maloney said in a statement:
“I strongly support the president’s decision to give employers more time to comply with the law, and I believe that we should give families the same flexibility we’re giving to our small businesses…Families and businesses in the Hudson Valley are not getting special subsidies from Obamacare and neither should members of Congress or the White House.”
Maffei, meanwhile, told his hometown paper, The Syracuse Post-Standard:
“Do I think it would have been better to have no strings attached? Yes. But if it’s about keeping the government open, I’m going to support it. I will work with any side to do it. Our leadership on both sides of the aisle needs to make some sort of concession.”
Both Maloney and Maffei are engaged in a delicate dance.
On one hand, their districts are closely divided, and they need to display independence from the liberal House Democratic leadership in order to appeal to the centrist, swing voters who will likely make the difference between winning and losing in the 2014 elections.
On the other hand, both Democrats railed during their successful 2012 elections against “extremist” Republican opponents – former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, in Maffei’s case, who recently announced she won’t be seeking a third rematch next fall; and former Rep. Nan Hayworth in Maloney’s case, who is planning on attempting a comeback.
Maffei and Maloney both ran with WFP support in 2012, and losing the line in 2014 could be problematic – if not fatal.
The WFP does engage in a lot of saber rattling, but there is some precedent for the party abandoning a Democratic member of Congress on the issue of health care reform just to make a point – even if that means losing a seat to the Republicans.
Just as former Reps. Mike Arcuri and Mike McMahon.
Both Democrats voted “no” on health care reform in 2010 – Arcuri was one of only two Democrats nationwide to change their vote from “yes” to “no” on the bill – and both lost the support of the WFP and various powerful labor unions as a result. Both also lost their seats in the 2010 elections, though the primary challenges the WFP initially pledged to support against them never materialized.
They, like many other marginal Democrats, fell victim to the Tea Party wave that year, and while you could argue that having the WFP line might not have made a difference in the final outcome, it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.
So far, the WFP has held off issuing any ultimatums the way it did back in 2010, and we’ll just have to wait and see how far the disappointment with these two on the part of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party goes.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on October 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm, and is filed under 2014, Congress, Democrats, Health Care, Labor, Uncategorized, Working Families Party. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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