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Democrats rally at Supreme Court ahead of ObamaCare vote

Greg Nash

House and Senate Democrats rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court Tuesday ahead of a vote on a resolution asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reverse its decision to side with a lower court ruling ObamaCare unconstitutional.

The symbolic resolution will likely pass the Democratic-controlled House Wednesday, but it won’t get a vote in the Senate, where Republicans are in the majority. 

But it gives Democrats another chance to highlight the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal ObamaCare, which they see as a winning issue ahead of the 2020 elections.

“We need our Republican colleagues to come to the table and defend their constituents instead of the president,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the Senate sponsor of the resolution.{mosads}

“Ensuring the health and safety of the American people should transcend politics,” she added.

Republicans on Tuesday argued that the resolution, which doesn’t have the force of law, is solely for Democrats to have another talking point.

“This is the taxpayer-funded equivalent of a press release. That’s what this is,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the top Republican on the House Energy & Commerce Committee. 

He said the House should instead vote on a Republican-backed bill that he says would protect people with pre-existing conditions should ObamaCare be overturned in court. But Democrats say that bill is too weak.

In December, a federal judge in Texas ruled in a case brought by a coalition of Republican-led states that all of ObamaCare is unconstitutional after Congress repealed its penalty for not having insurance.

The DOJ, which has declined to defend the law in court, previously stated that it only believed the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be thrown out, but then said late last month it agreed with the judge’s ruling.

The ruling is being appealed by a coalition of Democratic states, led by California.

Democrats in Congress have seized on the DOJ’s decision to attack President Trump and tie congressional Republicans to the decision.

While Democrats have previously focused on the law’s protections for pre-existing conditions, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday highlighted other parts of ObamaCare that would disappear should it be overturned, including provisions that allow children to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they’re 26.

Democrats also argue that Republicans don’t have a backup plan should ObamaCare be struck down. Republicans tried multiple times to repeal and replace ObamaCare when they had full control of Congress, but none of the proposals could get enough support to pass.

Trump tweeted Monday night that Republicans are working on a health care plan that will be voted on after the 2020 elections.

“President Trump confirmed he will hold American’s hostage through the 2020 election when it comes to health care,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday.

“Republicans are not the party of health care. They are the party that wants to end your health care.”

Republicans have largely strayed from the president on this issue, with many privately rooting for it to fail.

“If you’re looking strictly at political outcomes, it could be argued that a lot of members don’t want to see this struck down because they don’t want to deal with the fallout,” a senior Republican senator told The Hill.

Tags Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Greg Walden Jeanne Shaheen Nancy Pelosi

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