Democrats on the Hill trumpeted today’s surprising Supreme Court ruling upholding ObamaCare as a “victory for the American people,” in the words of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), while Republicans quickly latched onto the part of the decision that deemed the individual mandate to be a tax as vindication of their message all along.
Facing polls that have reflected less and less enthusiasm for the law since its passage, President Obama lauded the ruling that saved his signature domestic law by delivering a statement that was as much a public-relations announcement touting the specifics of the law as a victory lap.
Discussion over “who won and who lost,” he said, “completely misses the point.”
“It should be pretty clear by now that I didn’t do this because I believed it was good politics,” Obama sad. “…The highest court in the land has now spoken. We will continue to implement this law.”
Other Democrats highlighted the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts was the one who tipped the scales in the administration’s favor.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) stressed that the “conservative Roberts court put an end” to the debate of the health care law’s constitutionality.
“Those who have sought to demonize health reform need to put an end to their scare tactics,” Kerry said. “…Enough time has been wasted in the United States Congress on pointless repeal votes designed to score political points. Too much time has been wasted on a legislative temper tantrum.”
“I have believed since the case was argued that Chief Justice John Roberts would be the swing vote, not Justice Anthony Kennedy, because Kennedy tipped his hand during oral arguments,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). “In abandoning his conservative colleagues on the bench, the chief justice acted judiciously, not politically, exercising the presumption that a law passed by Congress is constitutional.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who is distancing himself from the Obama re-election effort, said that the ruling required additional congressional action. “We can move forward with fixing what is wrong with this bill and saving what is right,” he said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the ruling a step in the right direction, but said “we ultimately need to do better” with a shift to a single-payer system.
“If we are serious about providing high-quality, affordable health care as a right, not a privilege, the real solution to America’s health care crisis is a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system,” Sanders said.