Top Dems threaten Trump officials with 'alternative means of obtaining compliance' on ObamaCare documents

Top Democratic lawmakers are escalating a standoff with the White House over the administration's decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.

Several committee chairmen have warned the attorney general and White House counsel that they will seek "alternative" measures of obtaining documents related to the Trump administration's decision to not defend ObamaCare in court if the two top Trump officials do not comply with their requests.

A group of Democratic House committee chairmen, led by Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFacial recognition tools under fresh scrutiny amid police protests The sad spectacle of Trump's enablers Democrat Kweisi Mfume wins House primary in Maryland MORE (D-Md.) and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler wins Democratic primary Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Clyburn threatens to end in-person coronavirus committee hearings if Republicans won't wear masks MORE (D-N.Y.), wrote a letter to Attorney General William BarrBill BarrThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: DC's Bowser says protesters and nation were 'assaulted' in front of Lafayette Square last month; Brazil's Bolsonaro, noted virus skeptic, tests positive for COVID-19 FBI Director Wray warns of Chinese hacking, espionage threats against American companies Executing four white men won't erase death penalty racism MORE and White House counsel Pat Cipollone following up on their request for documents related to a court filing from the Justice Department in March arguing that the entire health care law should be overturned.


The Democrats added in their letter that they would "consider alternative means of obtaining compliance" if the two men do not respond to their requests, according to the letter. It is not clear what actions the House Democrats might take, but in separate conflicts with the White House over documents and testimony the House Oversight and Reform Committee has issued subpoenas. 

The chairmen first sent letters last month to the White House, Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services demanding access to materials that explain the decision not to defend the law and identify the officials involved in making it.

The two Trump officials have until May 24 to turn over the documents, according to CBS. Cummings's Oversight and Reform panel is also reportedly seeking testimony from Office of Management and Budget acting Director Russ Vought.

Democrats previously warned the Trump administration last month that moving to not defend President Obama's signature health care law would be a violation of the executive branch's duties to vigorously defend laws passed by Congress.

“This refusal appears to be violating longstanding policies to defend and enforce Acts of Congress; will have a significant negative impact on the accessibility of healthcare for Americans; and appears to be driven by political considerations rather than considered legal arguments,” the group of lawmakers wrote in April.

Barr responded last month, telling Democrats that the courts would block his move if it was deemed to be "outrageous" as they said.

"If you think it’s such an outrageous position, you have nothing to worry about. Let the courts do their job," he said at the time.