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DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS – NEW: HELLER “WOULD GUT PROTECTIONS” FOR PREEXISTING CONDITIONS – RINSE & REPEAT: GOP PRIMARIES GET WORSE – A NOT-SO-SHADOW CAMPAIGN IN #MTSEN

*NEW* CBPP: HELLER “WOULD GUT PROTECTIONS” FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. The self-imposed disaster that is Senator Heller’s health care record managed to get even worse today with a new report from the CBPP finding that his bill – in addition to increasing premiums and cutting Medicaid – would also “gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.” It’s the latest example that Heller – who repeatedly promised Nevadans that he would protect his state’s Medicaid coverage – is only looking out for himself. This dangerous plan out of step with voters of every political persuasion, and voters will hold him and every GOP Senate candidate accountable in 2018.

RE: THINGS THAT ARE CONFUSING & ALSO UNTRUE. Here is what Heller said at the press conference introducing legislation that would cost Nevada $250 million: “To me, it’s like Apple coming out with the iPhoneX,’ he said. ‘If you don’t want to buy it, you can keep your iPhone7. But there is an iPhoneX out there, a bigger and better product. If you like your iPhone7, if you like your old Medicaid program, you can keep it.”

Here are the facts:

  • The Nevada Independent: Cassidy-Graham-Heller Would “Increase Out Of Pocket Costs…Weaken Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions.”
  • Kaiser Family Foundation: Cassidy-Graham-Heller Would Allow Insurers To Charge Older Americans Up To 5 Times More.
  • CBPP: Cassidy-Graham-Heller “Would Deeply Cut and Drastically Redistribute Health Coverage Funding Among States.”
  • TPM: Cassidy-Graham-Heller bill would “Gut Medicaid” and “Funding Would Be Cut More Deeply Every Year. States That Expanded Medicaid Would Experience Even Deeper Reductions.”

GOP SABOTAGE RAISING HEALTH CARE COSTS. The CBO estimates that health care premiums are expected to rise by 15 percent next year, a result of Republicans’ ongoing sabotage of the health insurance system. Polling has overwhelmingly shown that voters will hold Republicans “accountable for failing to address problems in the marketplaces.”

RINSE & REPEAT: GOP PRIMARIES GET WORSE. Fractures within the GOP are fueling Senate primaries, “undermining the party’s prospects” and “inflaming tensions.” In Arizona and Nevada – and now Tennessee –  Republican Senators are facing primary challengers, further endangering vulnerable incumbents, risking “draining millions from party coffers,” and leaving their party with no clear message heading into the 2018 campaigns.

National Journal: Trump Drives a Wedge Between GOP Senate Candidates and His Base.

  • “There are now signs that President Trump is succeeding in driving a wedge in the GOP between his base and the Republican Congress, blaming his own party for a lack of progress on Capitol Hill, something that could spell trouble for incumbents like Dean Heller in Nevada, Jeff Flake in Arizona, and possibly others.”
  • “The danger is two-fold. Either the incumbent loses a primary to a less-electable Republican, or gets beaten in the general election because the party is so badly divided and Trump voters so disillusioned that usually reliable Republicans don’t go to the polls.”
  • “It appears that Flake’s attacks on Trump have caused many Republicans to turn against the incumbent, but Flake doesn’t pick up anything from voters who oppose the president. In a general election matchup, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema leads Flake by 7 points, 47 to 40 percent; her lead among independents is 13 points.”
  • “Heller is also in the president’s doghouse, but Nevada is considerably more of a swing state than Arizona. He faces Danny Tarkanian, a Trump supporter.”

Politico: Bannon plotting primaries against slate of GOP incumbents.

  • “President Donald Trump’s closest allies are planning a slate of primary challenges against Republican senators, potentially undermining the party’s prospects in 2018 and further inflaming tensions between GOP leaders and the White House.”
  • “On Thursday, he huddled with Danny Tarkanian, an attorney who is challenging Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), at the Capitol Hill townhouse that serves as a base of operations for Breitbart News, the conservative website that Bannon oversees.”
  • “Leading the target list is Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, an outspoken critic of the president who recently published a book lamenting the rise of Trump.”
  • “Two other senators could come under attack. Behind the scenes, Bannon has proposed the possibility of targeting Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, and those close to the former Trump chief strategist are talking about the prospect of a challenge to Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker.”

New York Times: Mercurial Trump Rattles Republican Party Ahead of Midterms.

  • “President Trump’s mercurial politics are already rattling Republicans heading into the 2018 midterm campaign, sparking Trump-like primary challenges in two high-profile Senate races.”
  • “Mr. Trump is in open war with Mr. Flake, who shunned the president last year and has written a scathing book about his party’s ‘Faustian bargain.’ Mr. Trump’s political arm has aired ads against Mr. Heller, while the president himself used a televised White House meeting with Mr. Heller to warn that he would be voted out if he did not back repeal of the Affordable Care Act.” 

Even More:
NPR: Trump, Bannon Maneuvers Could Threaten GOP Senate Majority.
The Hill: GOP braces for Bannon primary attacks.
NBC First Read: Bannon’s Civil War Could Undercut the GOP’s Top 2018 Advantage.
CNN: Source: Bannon and allies preparing primary challenges against GOP senators.

NOT-SO-SHADOW CAMPAIGN IN #MTSEN. Sitting Judge Russell Fagg may say that he’s only “exploring” a Senate run, but his actions tell a different story. Fagg has been touring the state, touting endorsements, and fundraising for a future campaign, with local news outlets commenting that he “looks and sounds like a candidate” and “certainly sounds like he’s made up his mind to run.” So why the shadow campaign if he’s clearly gearing up for a run? In Fagg’s own words, “he cannot ethically campaign for the seat while serving as a judge.” Yet that’s exactly what he’s doing. 

MORE #MTSEN: PRIMARY CANDIDATES “STARTING TO THROW SOME ELBOWS.” KPAX reports that no one is breaking out in the crowded Montana GOP Senate primary, so the candidates are “starting to throw some elbows” and have wasted no time pointing out that one – Maryland native Matt Rosendale – has been “running for office basically since he” moved to Montana in 2002.

WEEKEND LISTEN: Don’t miss Joe Donnelly’s interview on the Axe Files to hear why he’s focused on policy – not politics – and why he’s so driven to make health care more affordable. Listen here.

IN THE STATES.
IN – WISH: Donnelly pitches jobs bill to Trump
MT – Missoula Current: Tester secures funding to provide beds for homeless vets in Missoula
(MORE) MT – Sidney Herald: Tester announces disaster assistance for fires
ND – Grand Forks Herald: Heitkamp in announcing re-election bid says she’s a centrist who can work across the political aisle
OH – Cleveland.com: Sen. Sherrod Brown to introduce legislation giving Equifax victims 10 years of free credit monitoring
(MORE) OH – Plunderbund: Brown Promises ‘Hell Of A Fight’ Against Taxing Retirement Savings
WI – Wisconsin State Farmer: Farmers Union presents Golden Triangle to Sen. Tammy Baldwin
WV – AP: 4 senators, nonprofit to unveil initiative for Appalachia 

TWEET OF THE WEEK.

 

Enjoy the last bout of summer!

Lauren Passalacqua
@laurenvpass 

Ben Ray
@BenRay

David Bergstein
@DavidABergstein

Courtney Rice
@Court_Rice

Justin Lavoie
@je_lavoie

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