POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 6/29
The House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the “Fast and Furious” investigation. The vote was 255-67, with 17 Democrats voting in support of a criminal contempt resolution.
Roll Call: “The stage is now set for a protracted court battle over whether the Justice Department can shield internal documents under executive privilege.”
New York Times: “Democrats dismissed the effort as an election-year witch hunt. They said previously disclosed documents and testimony had established that Fast and Furious was the work of Arizona-based law enforcement officials who were frustrated by the difficulty of bringing low-level gun cases, and they contended that Republicans were seeking to embarrass Mr. Holder for political reasons.”
The Fix: “And yet, for all of that amped-up oratory from top leaders in their respective parties, the likely effect of today’s vote… is to convince people that all the bad things they think about Congress are, well, true.”
Mitt Romney promised today he would “replace” Obamacare on his first day as president, but it’s obviously much harder than that.
David Frum: “Even if Republicans do win the White House and Senate in 2012, how much appetite will they then have for that 1-page repeal bill? Suddenly it will be their town halls filled with outraged senior citizens whose benefits are threatened; their incumbencies that will be threatened. Already we are hearing that some Republicans wish to retain the more popular elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Which means the proposed 1-page bill will begin to grow.”
Ryan Lizza: “Far-sighted conservatives always thought that their great hope for toppling Obama’s most important legislative achievement was through the courts. They were correct.”
Nate Silver notes that “given the public’s confusion over the health care law, my view has been to keep it simple: Mr. Obama got the good headline here, and that is likely to be most of what the public reacts to.”
Timothy Carney notes that repealing the individual health care mandate takes only 51 votes in the U.S. Senate because you can’t filibuster a bill passed under “budget reconciliation.” Since the Supreme Court ruled today that the health care law’s individual mandate is a tax, Republicans “could simply lower the tax for not having health insurance down to $0.00, as a matter of budget reconciliation.”
“Since it’s a tax and not a mandate, there can’t be any penalty for not having health insurance above and beyond the tax. So, voila! No more mandate!”
However, a reader points out that the Byrd rule prohibits using reconciliation to cut taxes without offsetting revenue increases.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune that the Supreme Court’s healthcare decision was “historic” and that it was a good thing President Obama ignored his warnings about the political perils of tackling health care.
Said Emanuel: “I gave him my advice. I told him many times (about) the political cost of doing this. And thank God for the country, he didn’t listen to me.”
He added that having Chief Justice John Roberts, a Republican appointee, tip the balance of the court was “rich with irony.”
David Bernstein: “Back in May, there were rumors floating around relevant legal circles that a key vote was taking place, and that Roberts was feeling tremendous pressure from unidentified circles to vote to uphold the mandate. Did Roberts originally vote to invalidate the mandate on commerce clause grounds, and to invalidate the Medicaid expansion, and then decide later to accept the tax argument and essentially rewrite the Medicaid expansion (which, as I noted, citing Jonathan Cohn, was the sleeper issue in this case) to preserve it? If so, was he responding to the heat from President Obama and others, preemptively threatening to delegitimize the Court if it invalidated the ACA? The dissent, along with the surprising way that Roberts chose to uphold both the mandate and the Medicaid expansion, will inevitably feed the rumor mill.”
Rick Hasen: “In this Politico op-ed, I noted how ludicrous it was to talk about the Chief facing threats, pressure, and bullying. But if the Chief is sensitive to the institutional legitimacy of the Court and a desire to preserve his political capital for other reasons, then it is possible he was waffling in the face of the torrent of commentary. But how did the waffling leak out? An interesting question to say the least.”
Noah Feldman says the Supreme Court could have made history striking down President Obama’s health care law but instead chose the more cautious path.
“In the spirit of Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Felix Frankfurter, the court adopted the strategy of judicial restraint. The man most responsible for this comes as a surprise: Chief Justice John Roberts, a tried and tested conservative appointed by George W. Bush to the near-universal plaudits of the right. Roberts said in his confirmation hearings that he believed in judicial restraint. That has become a cliche, repeated by every would-be judge raising a right hand before a Senate committee. When the chips were down, Roberts did exactly what he had sworn to do under oath. He stayed the court’s hand and rejected activism.”
Jonathan Chait argues that Roberts “is not willing to do is to impose his vision in one sudden and transparently partisan attack. Roberts is playing the long game.”
The House will vote on a full repeal of President Obama’s health care law during the week of July 9, Politico reports.
The scheduling of another repeal vote came less than an hour after the Supreme Courtupheld the health care mandate.
Said House Speaker John Boehner: “Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety.”
Politico: “The Supreme Court has upheld the health care reform law’s individual mandate in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined in by Justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.”
It looks a like a big, big win for President Obama.
CNN: “Because the individual mandate has been upheld, and is essentially the funding behind everything else, this can be seen in large part as a major victory for President Obama.”
New York Times: “The decision was a striking victory for the president and Congressional Democrats, with a majority, including the conservative chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., affirming the central legislative pillar of Mr. Obama’s term.”
Washington Post: “The potentially game-changing, election-year decision — a major victory for the White House less than five months before the November elections — will help redefine the power of the national government and affect the health-care choices of millions of Americans.”
The pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action slams Mitt Romney’s business record with another tough ad, noting Bain Capital made money even on deals that saw companies go bankrupt.
Alex Burns: “Of the various groups involved in the Bain fight, Priorities has consistently been at the tip of the Democratic spear, spending more and airing more aggressive ads than the Obama campaign, and arguing publicly that the president’s allies should ignore anxiety among ‘elites’ about the Bain message.”
A new round of NBC News-Marist polls shows President Obama and Mitt Romney running almost neck-and-neck in three key battleground states.
Michigan: Obama 47%, Romney 43%
North Carolina: Obama 46%, Romney 44%
New Hampshire: Obama 45%, Romney 45%Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics