EXCLUSIVE – A new ad blitz by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) that targets House Democrats potentially facing difficult reelection bids next year has a new villain — President Biden.
“Prices are going up. Paychecks are going down,” says the narrator in a digital ad by the NRCC. “Now Biden, Pelosi, and Cindy Axne are going to make things worse with the biggest tax hike in decades, crushing small businesses and hurting middle class families. Tell Cindy Axne we can’t afford this.”
Axne, a two-term congresswoman who represents a district covering parts of central and southwestern Iowa, is one of dozens of House Democrats taking incoming fire from the NRCC as Republicans need a net gain of just five seats to win back the House majority in the 2022 midterm elections.
Axne is one of 17 House Democrats who are targeted in the new digital spots by the House GOP’s reelection arm, which were shared first with Fox News on Monday. The NRCC highlights that the ads are their first media campaign this cycle to attack Biden.
Up until now, ads by the NRCC and outside groups targeting potentially vulnerable House Democrats have often tied those lawmakers to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, liberal firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the so-called “Squad.”
Biden, who until early last month enjoyed healthy poll numbers, was not to be seen. But the president’s standing among Americans is flagging in the wake of his much criticized handling of the turbulent U.S. exit from Afghanistan, and amid a surge in COVID cases this summer among mainly unvaccinated people due to the spread of the highly infectious delta variant.
And that appears to have opened the door for Republicans to link targeted Democrats to the president.
“House Democrats are helping Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi pass the biggest tax hike in decades. With costs already through the roof, the last thing middle-class Americans need is the government taking more money from their paychecks,” NRCC chair Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota told Fox News in a statement. “Voters will hold every Democrat who votes for this reckless tax and spending spree accountable.”
The Democrats – who hold razor thin majorities in both the House and Senate – are aiming to pass the massive social spending and human infrastructure bill along party lines through a parliamentary process known as reconciliation. If it becomes law, the measure would become the biggest expansion of the federal government’s social safety net in many decades.
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.
The new NRCC ad starts with the narrator saying “sometimes even politicians tell the truth,” followed by a clip of then-presidential candidate Biden saying “guess what, If you elect me… your taxes are gonna be raised, not cut.”
The clip comes from a Biden rally in South Carolina in February of last year during the Democratic presidential nomination race. The clip appears to be taken out of context, as Biden at the time was referring only to tax increases for Americans making over $400,000 per year who saw a reduction in their tax rates thanks to the cuts passed by a Republican controlled Congress and signed into law by then-President Trump in late 2017.
The NRCC says they’re spending a modest five-figures to run the digital ads.
Besides Axne, the NRCC says their new spots will also target Reps. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona (AZ-01), Josh Harder of California (CA-10), Stephanie Murphy of Florida (FL-07), Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia (GA-07), Jared Golden of Maine (ME-02), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and Haley Stevens (MI-11) of Michigan, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire (NH-01), Tom Malinowski of New Jersey (NJ-07), Tom Suozzi (NY-03), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18 and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair), and Antonio Delgado (NY-19) of New York, Peter DeFazio of Oregon (OR-04), Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania (PA-08), Vincente Gonzalez of Texas (TX-15), and Elaine Luria of Virginia (VA-02).
Responding to the new ad blitz, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) accused the Republicans of “cutting misleading stunt ads about President Biden’s popular economic agenda to distract from the fact House Democrats are the ones to thank for getting our economy back on track.”
“Every Republican voted to block the very measures responsible for our economic recovery. Instead of helping the American people, they’ve spent the last year fueling conspiratorial lies about life-saving vaccines, prolonging this pandemic and threatening our economic progress, DCCC spokesperson Chris Taylor told Fox News.
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.