Every single Republican member of the state’s congressional delegation voted for the American Health Care Act on Thursday, helping the legislation to squeak by on a narrow 217-213 vote.
Many of the state’s 14 Republicans were not committed to the bill until the final hours before it was offered on the floor. But while 20 Republicans, mostly moderates, voted against the bill, California Republicans stood with party leadership and President Donald Trump.
The state’s Democrats, however, are perhaps even happier than the White House. The Los Angeles Times notes that half of those 14 Republicans represent districts in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won in last fall’s presidential election. Democrats believe that they can turn the vote to replace Obamacare into a campaign issue that could see many of those seats flip to the Democratic column, helping fuel what they hope is a nationwide surge.
Some Republicans declined to speak to the media, merely releasing press statements. One of those, according to the Fresno Bee, was Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), saying:
Central Valley residents have been saddled for far too long with high prices, while many Medi-Cal participants are burdened by minimal health care choices, with some participants even forced to travel to the Bay Area or Los Angeles to see specialists. The bill passed by the House today will make health care available to every American who wants it while protecting those with pre-existing conditions.
The Times also notes that Trump singled out Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for praise at a Rose Garden celebration of the bill’s passage, and that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) — previously undecided — sat in the front row.
Some are already feeling the backlash. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that Planned Parenthood held a rally against Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) in Santa Clarita.
The Senate is expected to offer its own new version of the bill.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.