Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley hasn’t talked up Obamacare much on the campaign trail this year, but in his 2012 congressional campaign, he wanted Iowans to know he stood by every word of the law: “You’re damn right I read the bill,” the congressman said.
“I had every page highlighted, I had my handwritten notes in the margin and I had tabs there,” he told his 2012 GOP opponent. That opponent, Ben Lange, expressed some skepticism that Braley had in fact read every word of the bill, which is by some counts 2,700 pages.
Obamacare has been fading a bit as an issue in the 2014 campaign, but the fact that Braley seems to have been such an ardent cheerleader for the law may give his opponent, state senator Joni Ernst, an opening.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi considered Braley part of her “go-to gang” on Obamacare, turning to him to help her whip votes for the controversial health-care law, according to the Hill. Braley, for instance, gave one of the closing arguments in favor of the law just before its passage in 2010.
It’s not clear if that means Braley will be standing by every one of the law’s provisions on the campaign trail, though: He voted for a bill, which the Senate didn’t take up, to allow consumers to keep insurance plans that would have been made illegal under Obamacare. The law will also make substantial cuts to Medicare, especially the popular Medicare Advantage. The Iowa GOP points out that the law will cut about $10,000 from Medicare budgets in the coming years for every Iowa senior, by reducing the growth of payments to doctors and hospitals.
A range of missteps by Braley have helped push the Iowa Senate race, to fill retiring Democrat Tom Harkin’s seat, into a virtual toss-up.