More than half of California’s 14 House
But in the wee hours of Friday morning, the
For now, it looks as if congressional leaders are moving on from their healthcare reform efforts, but the Californians' vote for a plan that would have taken health insurance from as many as 1 in 3 Californians is sure to be kept alive by the dozens of challengers who have signed up to run against them.
Democrats are plotting to use the healthcare vote as a cudgel against vulnerable Republicans in the same way votes for Obamacare were used to sweep Democrats out of the majority in 2010. And winning at least some of California's GOP seats is crucial to Democratic efforts to win back the House.
The party blasted out news releases Friday saying the representatives "can't turn back time and undo the damaging vote they took to kick 23 million Americans off their health insurance and jack up premiums for millions more. ... [They] own the Republican health care disaster and it will haunt them in 2018."
At the time of the House vote, several of California's Republican representatives said they were keeping their years-long promise to repeal President Obama's signature law. Others said they were trying to move the process forward with the expectation the Senate would make the bill better.
Now they say they're disappointed the Senate couldn't agree on a way to repeal Obamacare, but none is too concerned about the political effects of voting for the House version, which polls have shown was very unpopular.
"I expect to see this place work," Denham said. "I'm certainly disappointed that they weren't able to move the ball forward."
Hours before the Senate's failed vote, Denham held a campaign fundraiser in Washington for his 50th birthday with top House leaders. Denham has drawn at least eight opponents in a district where he's frequently challenged, but said he wasn't worried about being attacked for his healthcare vote.
“Yes, [House Minority Leader]
Denham said he expects to meet with doctors, hospitals and patients during the August recess to talk about other potential healthcare legislation.
He and fellow vulnerable Central Valley Republican Rep.
Valadao said he was disappointed by the Senate's failure, and believes Republicans still have an obligation to do something about Obamacare.
"We do have to have some legislation move forward," he said. "Hopefully we'll get an opportunity to get something done soon."
Prior to the House vote, Rep.
He said he ultimately voted for it because he had faith the Senate would send back a better bill. Issa even nudged Senate leadership twice to consider his idea to offer federal employees' healthcare plans to more or all Americans. He said in a statement Friday that he'll keep pushing colleagues on that idea.
"It's disappointing, but we can't give up now. Obamacare is still failing and we must bring young adults, families, small business and all Americans relief. We need to keep up the fight," he said.
"Democrats targeted my district way before any vote I made," said Knight, who was among the members expected to be greeted by planned healthcare protests in their hometowns as the House embarked on a monthlong recess Friday. "This was a very difficult vote, everybody knows that, but we're going to move forward."
"We're here to make hard votes, [we]'re here to make votes of conscience. Some guys and gals will complain, 'Oh, now we're out on record with a hard vote' — you know the guys in the tougher districts — but at the end of it, you have a reason that you are supposed to be here," LaMalfa said. "If you can't justify your position outside the politics, then why are you here?"
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Read more about the 55 members of California's delegation at latimes.com/politics