Donald Trump

Democrats Launch Ad Campaign Against Roskam as Pressure Over Obamacare Repeal Grows

Capitalizing on the failure of President Donald Trump and GOP leaders to pass the bill to repeal ‘Obamacare,’ the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday launched a digital ad campaign against more than a dozen House Republicans who supported the bill, including Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam.

As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Roskam voted in favor of the legislation before it was ultimately pulled from a vote on the full House floor Friday.

The bill, titled the American Health Care Act, failed to garner enough votes from two factions of Republicans, both the moderate lawmakers and the far right Freedom Caucus.

The withdrawal was seen widely as a stunning defeat for both Trump, who blamed Democrats for their lack of support despite Republican control of both the House and Senate, and GOP legislators – who have voted dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the seven years since its passage.

The ad campaign against Roskam and 13 other vulnerable House Republicans highlights the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s analysis that found 24 million people would have lost insurance coverage under the repeal, as well as the potential increase in premiums by up to 20 percent.

“Peter Roskam voted yes,” the voiceover says. “You deserve better.”

The ads will be featured on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for voters ages 35 and older, according to the DCCC.

“This targeted ad campaign makes clear that Congressman Roskam’s vote for this devastating Republican repeal bill will not be forgotten,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement.

“Roskam knowingly voted for a bill to 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 in Illinois’ 6th District know where Roskam stood on this harmful legislation,” he added. 

The ads are the DCCC’s second digital campaign against Roskam, as part of a larger effort against vulnerable House Republicans up for reelection in 2018.

Roskam has faced increasing scrutiny over his refusal to hold an in-person town hall, preferring to communicate with constituents in telephone town halls that have drawn as many as 21,000 live participants.

In response to criticism over the telephone town halls for the short notice and political nature, Roskam spokesman David Pasch said that the congressman “find[s] this is a much more effective way to engage a larger number of people, including those who aren’t able to make it to an in-person event,” adding that "large, unstructured events tend to devolve into shouting matches."

"Congressman Roskam promised to reform health care. The majority of his constituents were in support of that promise," National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Maddie Anderson said in a statement on the DCCC's latest efforts.

"His vote in committee was one step in the reform process. Oddly enough, the DCCC is continuing to tout Obamacare, which only 13% of Americans support keeping as is," she added.

The DCCC’s ad campaign also targets Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg; Pennsylvania Reps. Pat Meehan, Ryan Costello and Lloyd Smucker; as well as Reps. Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis of Minnesota, among others.

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