EXCLUSIVE – Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the powerful fiscally conservative and libertarian political advocacy group, is taking aim at what it calls Sen. Bernie Sanders “health care heist” in a new seven-figure ad blitz that aims to stop the $3.5 trillion spending plan that Democrats are trying to pass through Congress.
AFP says their campaign, shared first with Fox News on Wednesday, will target districts represented by 13 House Democrats that Republicans consider vulnerable in the 2022 midterm elections, when the GOP is aiming to win back majorities in both the House and the Senate. And they say it includes digital and radio ads, mail and phone calls to lawmakers’ offices, townhall events, and direct outreach to lawmakers.
Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont and two-time Democratic presidential candidate, is chair of the Senate Budget Committee and is the lawmaker tasked with overseeing the massive budget resolution bill introduced last week by Senate Democrats.
Americans for Prosperity, the powerful fiscally conservative and libertarian political advocacy group, is taking aim at what it calls Sen. Bernie Sanders "health care heist" in a new seven-figure ad blitz that aims to stop the $3.5 trillion spending plan that Democrats are trying to pass through Congress. (Americans for Prosperity (AFP))
The measure would include nearly all key elements of President Biden’s American Families Plan, including the creation of a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, funding for free universal preschool for three and four year-olds and free community college for all students. And it expands the number and amounts of Pell Grants, extending the child tax credits that were included in the COVID relief package, and funding for numerous clean energy programs.
But the measure also includes expanding Medicare coverage for hearing, vision, and dental, which Sanders has long championed. To pay for their plan, Democrats are calling for tax hikes on corporations and the wealthiest earners, as well as beefing up the IRS in order to generate more revenue by cracking down on people who cheat or underpay on their taxes.
If it eventually becomes law, the measure would become the biggest expansion of the federal government’s social safety net in many decades.
“This is, in our view, a pivotal moment in American history,” Sanders emphasized as he spoke with reporters last week.
But AFP president Tim Phillips warned that “lawmakers need to wake up and understand that Sen. Sanders and his allies are using the guise of infrastructure to plot the biggest expansion of government-run health care in over a decade.”
“If members of Congress don’t take this government health care takeover seriously, America will be one step closer to a single payer system that forces patients to give up the health care they like and saddles future generations with trillions in new debt,” Phillips argued in a statement to Fox News.
And he urged that lawmakers from both parties “should roundly reject Sen. Sanders’ health care heist and instead work to give Americans a personal option that fixes what’s broken with health care while keeping what works for millions of individuals and families.”
AFP has long argued for reforming health care to make it more affordable for Americans without relying on more government spending or tax hikes.
AFP says the ads will run in districts represented by Democratic Reps. Cindy Axne (IA-03), Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), Angie Craig (MN-02), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Ron Kind (WI-03), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07).
The group says the digital ads and calls to the lawmakers offices will begin on Wednesday, with the other elements in the campaign following shortly.
The new campaign by AFP follows a similar seven-figure effort earlier this year to spotlight what it considered the “harmful provisions” in the massive $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, formally known as the America Rescue Plan, that was passed along party lines and signed into law by Biden.