Chicago Sun Times –
WASHINGTON — Illinois elected five new Democrats to Congress in 2012 and all of them defied the Obama White House and their own House leadership to vote for a GOP plan to allow people to renew their current health insurance — though at the same time it would weaken the new health care law.
The votes of Illinois Democratic Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Brad Schneider, Bill Foster, Cheri Bustos and William Enyart highlight the potential 2014 political fallout created because of the Obama administration’s botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
That GOP bill, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., passed the Republican-run House on a 261-157 vote Friday with 39 Democratic defections, including the five from President Barack Obama’s adopted home state.
Freshmen Schneider, Bustos and Enyart face the toughest re-election battles in Illinois next year. Foster returned to Congress this year after losing his seat in 2010 and has less of a 2014 threat. Duckworth is in the best shape of the Illinois newcomers, with the Upton vote a preemptive strike to make sure her seat does not get into play.
By voting yes on the Upton bill, the Illinois five were inoculating themselves in advance of the anti-Obamacare campaigns the Republicans are getting ready to run against vulnerable Democrats. The “yes” vote on Upton will make it easier to deflect GOP attacks they know are coming.
During the partial federal government shutdown last October, I wrote how Schneider, Foster and Bustos split with party leaders to vote for a series of GOP bills to reopen government piecemeal, also inoculation moves.