Obama says ACA ‘is here to stay’ after supreme court dismisses Republican challenge – live
Obamacare "is here to stay" - Obama
Barack Obama has tweeted in celebration of yet another upholding by the US supreme court of his signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, which even the former president also came to affectionately call “Obamacare”.
The 44th Potus of the decision this morning, with the 7-2 vote on the bench, that: “This ruling reaffirms what we have long known to be true: The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”
Obama added on another post: “Now we need to build on the Affordable Care Act and continue to strengthen and expand it. That’s what @POTUS Biden has done through the American Rescue Plan, giving more families the peace of mind they deserve.
He also promoted the current, extended sign-up period in another tweet.
The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, has said he opposes a compromise version of voting rights legislation offered by Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who has infuriated the left of his party with his obdurate opposition to full reform.
House Democrats passed the For the People Act, a wide-ranging package of federal voting rights reforms, in answer to laws passed in the states by Republicans seeking to restrict voting among communities more likely to vote Democratic and to make it easier to overturn election results.
But Manchin opposes it and also reform to the filibuster, by which the Senate minority can block the will of the majority, which would undoubtedly be necessary to pass it in an upper chamber split 50-50 and therefore controlled through the vote of Vice-President Kamala Harris.
“Senate Democrats seem to have reached a so-called ‘compromise’ election takeover among themselves,” McConnell said on Thursday. “In reality, the plan endorsed by Stacey Abrams is no compromise.”
Manchin’s compromise, revealed on Wednesday and indeed endorsed by Abrams, the voting rights campaigner who ran for governor in Georgia in 2018, includes outlawing partisan gerrymandering, making election day a public holiday, offering 15 days of early voting in federal elections, establishing automatic voter registration and requiring some forms of voter ID. He also proposes to scale back campaign finance reforms.
McConnell’s opposition was of course no surprise. The Kentucky senator said the compromise “still subverts the first amendment to supercharge cancel culture and the left’s name-and-shame campaign model. It takes redistricting away from state legislatures and hands it over to computers.
“And it still retains [the For the People Act’s] rotten core: an assault on the fundamental idea that states, not the federal government, should decide how to run their own elections.”
Here’s more on Manchin:
The US is one of the only developed nations without universal health coverage. The supreme court’s decision on Obamacare prevented Republicans from upending health insurance and consumer protections for hundreds of millions of Americans, but still leaves roughly 29 million people uninsured and subject to the whims of the world’s most expensive healthcare system.
Conservatives largely avoided commenting on the ACA victory except to note Justice Amy Coney Barrett, considered part of the court’s conservative wing, voted to uphold the law. In her confirmation hearing, Democrats had argued she would overturn the ACA given the chance.
The ACA was former President Barack Obama’s signature legislature achievement and the most sweeping health reform law in generations. Its 2010 passage heralded nearly a decade of anti-Obamacare rhetoric from the right.
However, when Republicans finally held the White House and majorities in Congress during the Trump era, they failed to repeal the law. Controversy over ending protections for the sick, healthcare for the poor and consumer protections for all Americans proved too controversial to overcome, and their efforts failed in a dramatic vote.
The supreme court upheld the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, in a 7-2 decision that ended with the justices agreeing Republican states did not have the right, or “standing”, to sue.
Supporters of Obamacare, from health plans to advocacy groups to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quickly heralded the court’s decision, calling the law a “lifeline” in a “devastating” pandemic.
“Today, the court ensured that the ACA will continue to be a critical lifeline for the people most in need by rejecting yet another frivolous challenge,” said Lambda Legal senior attorney and healthcare strategist Omar Gonzalez-Pagan. Lambda is a civil rights group which focuses on the LBGTQ community.
Pelosi said the ruling is, “a landmark victory for Democrats’ work to defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions against Republicans’ relentless efforts to dismantle them.” Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats now plan to make the ACA, “bigger and better”.
However, even as relief was palpable, the law was notably criticized from the left. The change shows how American politics have shifted since the ACA’s passage in 2010. The ACA alone, said Senator Bernie Sanders, “not enough”.
“Health care is a human right, not a privilege,” said Sanders. “We must join other major countries in guaranteeing health care for all and pass Medicare for All.” Medicare for All would extend the benefits of the single-payer public health insurance program Medicare, which is provided to all Americans older than 65, to the rest of the public.
Today so far
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- The supreme court dismissed a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, preserving health care coverage for millions of Americans. In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the Republican-led states and individuals who challenged the law, better known as Obamacare, did not have standing to bring their case.
- The court also ruled in favor of a Catholic charity that barred gay parents from fostering children. Catholic Social Services sued the city of Philadelphia after the charity was excluded from the city’s foster-care program because of its policy against gay parents. In the majority opinion, chief Justice John Roberts said the city violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by refusing to work with the charity.
- Joe Biden will soon sign a bill to make Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in America, a federal holiday. The House approved the Juneteenth bill last night, in a vote of 415 to 14. All 14 “no” votes came from Republicans. The Senate passed the legislation by voice vote earlier this week.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Congressional Democrats had hoped that Republicans would be more willing to repeal the 2002 AUMF now that Joe Biden, not Donald Trump, is in the White House.
Democrats thought Republicans would be more amenable to the idea of curtailing presidential military power when a Democrat was sitting in the White House.
Democrats’ strategy was vindicated with today’s House vote. As an editor for the Dispatch noted, 11 Republicans supported repealing the AUMF last year, while 49 Republicans voted to repeal the authorization today.
Progressive congresswoman Barbara Lee, who has fought to repeal the 2002 AUMF for 19 years, celebrated the bill’s House passage today.
“After nearly 20 years of fighting for this, we’re finally one step closer to ending forever wars,” Lee said on Twitter.
A Politico reporter who spoke to Lee shortly after the House passed her bill said the congresswoman was “all smiles”.
She described the bill’s approval as a “humbling moment” and emphasized she would now work to ensure the legislation makes it through the Senate.
House votes to repeal AUMF that gave Bush authority to invade Iraq
The House has voted to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which gave George W Bush the power to invade Iraq in 2003.
The final vote was 268 to 161, with 49 Republicans supporting the repeal. All but one Democrat, Elaine Luria of Virginia, voted for the repeal as well.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where the proposal has bipartisan support. However, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has spoken out against the repeal, so an interesting debate lies ahead.
Joe Biden has indicated he supports the repeal as well, in part because his administration believes it would have a limited effect on the country’s current military operations.
“The Administration supports the repeal of the 2002 AUMF, as the United States has no ongoing military activities that rely solely on the 2002 AUMF as a domestic legal basis, and repeal of the 2002 AUMF would likely have minimal impact on current military operations,” the White House said in a statement this week.
“Furthermore, the President is committed to working with the Congress to ensure that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are replaced with a narrow and specific framework appropriate to ensure that we can continue to protect Americans from terrorist threats.”
Federal employees to observe Juneteenth tomorrow, OPM says
In some non-supreme court news, the US Office of Personnel Management has just confirmed that federal employees will get tomorrow off to observe Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in America.
“Today @POTUS will sign the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday. As the 19th falls on a Saturday, most federal employees will observe the holiday tomorrow, June 18th,” OPM said on Twitter.
The House passed the Juneteenth bill yesterday in a vote of 415 to 14, one day after the Senate approved the legislation by voice vote.
Joe Biden is scheduled to sign the bill into law this afternoon, allowing federal employees to observe Juneteenth tomorrow.
The US supreme court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, after Republicans attempted to gut an important provision of the law during the Trump era.
In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled Republican states ultimately did not have “standing” or the right to sue. The ruling avoided the issue of whether the tax provision of the law called the “individual mandate”, and therefore the entire law, was unconstitutional.
The ACA was the most important health reform law in generations and was Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement during his time in the White House. However, the provision over which Republican states sued, the individual mandate, has long been a sore spot for many Americans.
Supporters of Obamacare, from health insurance plans to advocacy groups to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quickly heralded the court’s decision as preserving a “lifeline” in a “devastating” pandemic.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer also celebrated the supreme court’s ruling to dismiss a challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
“Let me say definitively: the Affordable Care Act has won,” the Democratic leader said in a Senate floor speech moments ago.
“The supreme court has just ruled the ACA is here to stay. And now we’re going to try and make it bigger and better, establish once and for all affordable health care as a basic right of every American citizen.”
Supreme court rules in favor of Catholic charity that excluded gay foster parents
The supreme court has also ruled in favor of Catholic Social Services in its case against the city of Philadelphia over the charity’s policy excluding gay parents from fostering children.
CSS sued the city after the charity was excluded from the Philadelphia foster-care program because of its policy against gay parents.
The decision was unanimous, and chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.
“The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Roberts wrote in the decision.