In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Over the last week or so, the departure of Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) billionaire finance co-chairman has caused a few headaches for the governor's re-election campaign, and could cause more pain going forward.

Roughly a week ago Scott's billionaire campaign finance co-chairman, Mike Fernandez, quit the campaign citing "behind-the-scenes disagreements." Soon more details came out. Fernandez, who was born in Cuba, was reportedly very dissatisfied with the direction of campaign and how much access he had to Scott. Fernandez, in an email obtained by the Miami Herald, was shaken by "culturally insensitive" language two Scott staffers had been using on the way to a Mexican restaurant. Politico then obtained another email where Fernandez complained about the "paranoia" of Scott campaign manager Melissa Sellers.

Read More →

Of the many ways Republicans might target Obamacare if they win the Senate this fall, at least one should have a decent chance of earning the approval of the White House: repealing the law's employer mandate.

The employer mandate is supposed to require companies with more than 50 employees to provide health coverage to their workers or pay a fine. It's unpopular with the business community, though the general public supports it.

If the GOP held the House and the Senate, insiders expect the employer mandate to be a likely target for their anti-Obamacare agenda. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), in line to assume control of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, has already introduced a repeal bill this Congress.

"If things were to turn, if Republicans were to take a simple majority, I think this would be one of the top things that Republicans would look at," Amanda Austin, health policy expert for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit to overturn Obamacare and one major force behind the repeal effort, told TPM.

Read More →

A group of moderate Senate Democrats, including several in tough reelection races this fall, proposed Thursday a package of "fixes" to the Affordable Care Act.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Mary Landrieu (LA), Mark Begich (AK), Mark Warner (VA), Joe Manchin (WV) and Angus King (I-ME) released the proposals in tandem, along with a co-written op-ed in Politico. Begich and Landrieu have particularly tough reelection bids, already taking a hammering from conservative groups for their support of Obamacare.

"As I have said from the beginning, the Affordable Care Act is not perfect," Landrieu said in a statement. "No law is. That is why I am happy to join with several of my colleagues to put forth some ideas to make it work even better. I hope some, if not all of these, suggestions will gain support from Republicans and Democrats to become law."

Read More →

An Arizona state senator and long-shot gubernatorial candidate encouraged people to go learn more about a freelance border patrol hate group that the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as "one of the most virulent anti-immigrant groups around."

Arizona State Sen. Al Melvin (R) cited the group during an explanation he gave on Tuesday of why he voted for House Bill 2462, legislation that lets Arizona create a "virtual fence" along the border between Arizona and Mexico. In describing why he voted yes, Melvin mentioned the American Border Patrol. The mention came during a long-winded explanation by Melvin of how border security is not just a federal issue, it's a local issue too.

Read More →

There's been a significant drop in the number of Republican women running for Congress this cycle compared to 2012.

According to findings by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, 74 Republican women, including 17 incumbents, are likely to run or are running for seats in the House this cycle. By comparison, 108 ran for Congress in 2012. The number has remained the same in the Senate, though, with 16 women running both this cycle and in 2012. The findings are regularly updated after each primary election.

Read More →

Skeptics of the legal challenge to Obamacare's birth control mandate warn that a ruling against it could declare open season on virtually any law that a person or business can mount a religious-based objection to. If Hobby Lobby can be exempt because of its owners' Christian beliefs, Justice Elena Kagan wondered, what legal principle would stop other corporations from seeking religious-based exemptions from minimum wage or sex discrimination laws?

Read More →

The thinking is so ingrained now that it seems superfluous to point it out: Republicans are convinced that Obamacare's unpopularity will propel them to midterm victories in November, enough to take back control of the Senate and therefore Congress. Simple as that.

“I don’t think there’s any serious observer that believes Democrats can take the House, and the Senate is slipping away from them,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said last week. “That’s because Americans are hurting from this law.”

But a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation might bring the GOP's certainty into question: 53 percent of Americans, including 51 percent of independents, say they're tired of debating Obamacare and think that the country should focus on other issues.

Even among Republicans, the numbers are almost evenly split: 47 percent are tired of the debate, while 49 percent think it should continue.

Read More →

TPMLivewire