WASHINGTON — Democrats in both chambers were more than happy to gloat over the Supreme Court’s decision on King v. Burwell, which maintained that states that do not get their Obamacare subsidies through a state-managed exchange are still eligible for federal subsidies through the act.
“Today, for the second time, the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act. I’m so jubilant about this,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday.
“It’s a victory for commonsense and for all American families. It’s past time the Republicans abandon their assault on the new found health security of the affordable care act is providing. Millions and millions of Americans across the country,” she said, later noting the ACA “upholds the values of our founders for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness — a healthier life.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid tore into Republicans claiming they created a “crisis” for political reasons.
“The Supreme Court agreed that when it comes to this case had no legal merit, none, but Republicans were willing to take health care away from millions of people,” he told reporters.
He continued, “Scores of votes to repeal it — what a waste of taxpayers’ time—scores of votes to repeal it, but having their attempt to manufacture crisis on healthcare rebuffed by the United States Supreme Court is not stopping the Republicans from manufacturing crisis everywhere else they can, and that’s too bad.”
When asked if Republicans planned to repeal the ACA through budget reconciliation, a strategy Democrats used to pass the ACA in the upper chamber when they no longer had a 60-vote majority to stop any filibusters from the GOP minority in 2010, Boehner responded, “There’s been no decision on how to deal with — what to use reconciliation for. The problem with Obamacare is still fundamentally the same.”
He added, “The law is broken. It’s raising costs for American families. It’s raising costs for small businesses and it’s just fundamentally broken. And we’re going to continue our efforts to do everything we can to put the American people back in charge of their own health care — not the federal government.”
Republicans would first have to agree on a budget resolution if a reconciliation package in the Senate can happen. A budget reconciliation package requires only a simple majority and cannot be filibustered. At the same time, the reconciliation package cannot raise the deficit or include “extraneous measures.” The only roadblock would be Obama’s veto.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin admonished Republicans for their criticism of the ACA and demanded the GOP stop bad mouthing the legislation.
“I think there was a concurring opinion that came out this morning, not necessarily from the court but from the American public to the critics of the Affordable Care Act, stop the non-stop criticism of this act. Stop wasting our time with vote after vote to abolish this law. Roll up your sleeves and work together to make it bipartisan and stronger.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer called the court decision a “win” for Americans saying, “Not withstanding all of their actions to repeal they have never come up with a workable alternative. So the Supreme Court served America today, and I congratulate them today for that.”
Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp told reporters the ACA debate is not going away as he made a push for his party to use reconciliation as a tactic to repeal the law.
“We understand if the president wanted to negotiate, but when we’re talking about these massive premium increases, folks are just beginning to understand. This is the preparation for 2017,” he said.
House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions told reporters he was disappointed with the court’s decision but that it was important not to “second guess these guys.”
“They heard the case. I didn’t, but the facts of the case are real simple. We still have a health care bill, which limits the amount of work that a person can have. It limits employers with their ability to provide their own product and we have millions of people who are without healthcare because of the ACA,” he said.