Feinstein in the News

By Sarah Wire

Originally published by the Los Angeles Times

Sen. Dianne Feinstein made a direct appeal to her 14 California congressional Republican colleagues on Monday, asking them to stop the latest GOP healthcare bill if it gets to the House.

The Senate hasn't scheduled a vote on the plan, and it's not clear it would pass if a vote was held. But if it did, California House members could determine whether it goes to President Trump's desk or not.

If it gets through Congress, the Senate bill is expected to have an outsized effect on California, slashing more than $100 billion in federal funding for the state over the next decade and tens of billions more in the years that follow.

"If this bill makes it to the House, you have an opportunity to stop it. I implore you to do so. This is about putting people over politics, Californians ahead of party," Feinstein wrote in a letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

Senate leaders want to take up the bill this week because a Senate rule that allows Republicans to pass the bill with a simple majority expires Sept. 30. Democratic senators, including Feinstein and Kamala Harris, oppose the bill.

"While I will do all I can to defeat this bill, I ask that if it passes you put politics aside and vote in the best interest of those you represent and help defeat this dangerous bill," Feinstein said in her letter. "It is no secret that the bill was drafted to take federal funds from California and other states that expanded Medicaid (in order to cover low-income working adults) and give it to states that put politics ahead of their people and failed to expand Medicaid."

Many of the state's conservative-leaning districts benefited the most from Obamacare's expansion of Medi-Cal to include more low-income adults, a group of people that would likely lose coverage if the bill passes and the federal government no longer contributes as much to pay for their healthcare.

California's House Republicans all voted in favor of a GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act in May. Several politically vulnerable Republicans said they did so because they believed the Senate would return a bill to the House that would address their concerns with the House bill.

Seven California Republicans face particularly tough reelection campaigns in 2018, in part because their districts backed Hillary Clinton for president in 2018, and many of their opponents have already started using the May vote against them.