As Republican ads continually attack Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams for supporting liberals too often, he bolted from his party’s leaders again to oppose a pandemic relief bill that Democrats passed Thursday.
The bill “is a step in the right direction but is still weighted down with partisan wish list items, unrelated to the COVID crisis,” McAdams said in a statement after the vote.
“I am frustrated that the bill before us today is an exercise in futility while we should be focusing our energy on passing bills that will get relief to the millions of struggling Americans during this economic crisis,” he said.
McAdams urged all House members to work together to pass needed relief.
“I call on all sides to come together, put partisanship aside, and present a measure that will get Democratic and Republican votes — a smart plan that responds to the ongoing public health and economic emergency facing us,” he said. “There’s a deal to be made. Put partisanship aside and make it.”
The step comes as McAdams — who won his seat by less than 700 votes two years ago — has faced a series of ads by Republican political action committees and his opponent, Burgess Owens, asserting that he follows Democratic leaders in lock-step and only claims to be a moderate.
For example, one by the Congressional Leadership Fund — a super PAC closely association with House GOP leaders — says, “Ben really changed when he got to D.C., voting with [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi 85% of the time.”
He also has voted 44% of the time the same was as Utah GOP Rep. John Curtis, 43% of the time with Utah Rep. Chris Stewart and 41% with Rep. Rob Bishop.
Other measures show that McAdams is one of the most moderate Democrats in the House.
Still, it reports that McAdams voted for Trump positions only 20.2% of the time, less than any House Republican. (Bishop voted with Trump 94.9% of the time; Curtis 95%; and Stewart 96.4%).
“Brutal crackdowns on religious freedom, people of faith silenced and jailed by a communist regime. But when Ben McAdams had the chance to help, he was missing,” the ad states.
The 30-second segment, which the Congressional Leadership Fund has said will run on a mix of broadcast, cable and digital platforms, ends by accusing McAdams of failing to show up when victims of “assaults on religious liberty and human rights” “needed help most.”
McAdams' campaign, in a statement responding to the ad on Thursday, said it represented a “new low” for the Owens campaign and its “D.C. allies."
Included in the news release from the McAdams campaign was a statement from Congressional Executive Commission on China Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who called the ad a “false partisan attack that trivializes the seriousness of the challenges our country faces from the Chinese government.”
He said that McAdams has attended “most of our hearings for the last two years” and has played a key role in supporting legislation to hold the Chinese government accountable.