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December 23, 2014

Reid: ‘Absurd’ Obamacare Decision Vindicates ‘Nuclear Option’ (Video)

Senate Democrats are hoping their use of the “nuclear option” to end a Republican blockade of circuit court nominees last year will help overturn a 2-1 appeals court ruling with the potential to gut Obamacare tax subsidies for millions.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blasted the court’s ruling that Congress only wanted to provide tax subsidies in states with their own exchanges an “absurd” move by “two activist Republican judges.”

The administration plans to appeal the ruling to the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which now has more Democrat-appointed judges after the nuclear option blew up GOP attempts to filibuster Obama’s nominees.

Asked by reporters if his decision to employ the nuclear option to fill the circuit was vindicated, Reid said based on “simple math, you bet.”

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said he wouldn’t be surprised if the full court ruled in the White House’s favor.

“There was a strong conservative Republican majority on the D.C. Circuit until we filled the vacancies,” Durbin said. “Now it’s a balanced circuit, so since one of the Republicans of the three who ruled was on our side I wouldn’t give up on a…ruling coming our way, toward the administration.”

The court ruled the health care law authorizes subsidies only through state exchanges, not the federal exchange, potentially eliminating subsidies for millions of low- and middle-income residents.

That ruling conflicted with the conclusion of a three-judge panel in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals based in Richmond, Va., which ruled 3-0 that Congress intended to offer the subsidies on a nationwide basis, despite ambiguity in the law.

“We know that Congressional Republicans will try to use the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s outlier ruling as a scare tactic to confuse Americans about the future of the ACA,” said Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, in a statement. “Let me be clear: tax credits for Americans who qualify will continue as this case continues to make its way through the legal system. Americans who received financial help in 2014 and those who seek coverage for 2015 should know that tax credits and subsidies will remain available.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest also touted the fourth circuit ruling.

“Another partisan attempt to harm the Affordable Care Act failed today,” Earnest said in a release. “This latest attempt was undermined by a unanimous judicial panel in the 4th Circuit. The law was designed to make health care affordable through tax credits — and it is working.”

Republicans acknowledged the full circuit could reverse the ruling, and called on the Supreme Court to weigh in.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Democrats using the “nuclear option” were trying to pack the court for just such an occasion.

“I welcome an opportunity for the Supreme Court to take it up and that is what I am calling on today,” he continued.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Senate Republican Conference chairman, said he too hopes the high court weighs in.

“I’m sure if I was Obama I would want to get it litigated at the full circuit because he’s effectively packed the court,” Thune said. “But now that you have this conflicting opinion, most often what happens is the Supreme Court can assert jurisdiction, that is within their purview to do that. So I would hope that that would be where it gets resolved now.”

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

  • gacker

    dear senator thune, it’s PRESIDENT OBAMA, and it’s high time that you and your republican buddies start referring to him that way

    • HongryHawg

      Sorry, Gacker, for your ignorance. He will never be a President. He will always be a pretender and a punk. And you sir, will always have your head up your A–!

    • sprdthewrd

      Sorry, I have never referred to that Impostor in the White House President. All his chickens are beginning to come home to roost. Are you Mr. Gacker confused ?

    • http://airmanjacobson.com/ get2djnow

      Ovomit. Plain and very simple.

    • Heinleinslostson

      I agree. As Republicans, we don’t have to adopt the rhetoric, nastiness, and vile, vulgar epithets that Senate Majority Leader Reid. and then Congressional Speaker of the House Pelosi utilized in their descriptions of President Bush. We’re better than them.

    • Diggsc

      Waaahhhh. Some Republicans are starting to show the same level of respect to Obama that all Democrats showed to Bush for all eight years of his Presidency. And I don’t like it. I’m going to stamp my feet and hold my breath until the Republicans acknowledge that Obama is our Lord and Savior.

    • Layla

      The dictator? Hasn’t earned the respect to be called “President”. Golf and fundraising are not listed in the public’s job description.

  • DrSquishy

    Full DC circuit will rule in favor of the White House thus the 4th Circuit and the DC Circuit ruling in the White house favor means the Supreme Court is unlikely going to take up the case.

  • DrSquishy

    Thune thinks that the Supreme Court is going to take up the case now. Not going to happen. Instead it will go in front of the DC Circuit en banc and will be ruled in the administration’s favor.

    With two rulings in the administration’s favor, the Supreme Court may not want to take the case.

  • YONATAN C

    It’s amazing what can be done when the democrats REALLY want something done. What about the more than three million STILL unemployed families who are STILL without an unemployment extension since late last December? Have they forgotten about this group already? These families have been falling deeper and deeper into financial ruin over the past seven months, while both political parties played their party politics. Why is it that other countries receive financial aid, but NOT our own citizens here? Look what a disgrace the VA has been to out veterans? Who are you working for? Yourselves?

    • http://airmanjacobson.com/ get2djnow

      Change that: Yourselves.

      Fixed. Your welcome.

    • Layla

      Keep voting Democrat, Yonatan, and expect more of the same.

  • Bob Viering

    For two likely intelligent people, Sens. Barrasso and Thune showed their hyper-partisan lack of knowledge. Packing the court refers the Roosevelt’s attempt to add justices above the legal level to get a partisan court. The DC Court of Appeals was short of it’s allotted number of judges. This is hardly court packing but, legally filling openings. When you win Presidential elections you get to appoint judges. Apparently Republicans have conveniently forgotten the partisan judges that Bush nominated. Was adding conservative judges court packing? Using terms like court packing may poll well but, it shows the users to be pandering to the uneducated part of their base. This is beneath the dignity of their office.

    • http://richmondtommy.wordpress.com/ Tommy Tomhan

      Both sides play this game Bob and you may be sorry about Nuclear option if we win the Senate back. I hope America’s eyes have opened now that your leader is falling apart in front of your eyes.

      • http://airmanjacobson.com/ get2djnow

        I haven’t communicated with even one Kool-aid drinker that thinks Ovomit’s wheels are coming off. Anyone who could try to say that this article is wrong on a technicality, probably falls into that category (of Kool-aid drinking LWNJ).

        • Layla

          resort to name calling when credible arguments are not possible. Cloward and Piven.

          • http://airmanjacobson.com/ get2djnow

            The name calling (accurate though it is), is part of a more accurate attack on the inability of America’s brownshirts to see The One’s flouting of the Constitution (as documented in the Washington Post today).

            I have not a shred of respect for them or their leadership. They deserve less. Alinsky, not Cloward and Piven.

    • zaggs

      The changed the nomination rules to allow partisan candidate to be put on the court. So yes the term “packing” applies. Roosevelt didn’t coin the term, the term was used to describe what he did. But it wasn’t the first instance of the term.
      You obviously forget democrats had no problem blocking Bush’s nominees.

    • Layla

      Beneath the dignity of their office? You say that with THIS CONGRESS, THIS PRESIDENT? Dignity flew out the window a long time ago, with the Constitution.

  • http://richmondtommy.wordpress.com/ Tommy Tomhan

    I really hope we take the Senate and turn this nuclear option into a enema for the Dems for its creation.

    • Rick Caird

      And, every time we turn it on dirty Harry, we thank him for making it all possible. Rub the creep’s nose in it every time.

  • zaggs

    The case only gets upheld by judicial activism. Even the 4th circuit admitted that the law was actually in the plaintiffs favor, so they had to go and rewrite the law in a manner that the administration doesn’t follow to say it was legal. Thats right kids, remember when HHS exempted the territories from requirements of Obamacare? Their reasoning? Remember that “state” definition that in court cases the administration says means every US citizen and not actual states? Yep, that definition to HHS does not mean US citizens in territories any more. Thats a move the DC circuit took into consideration, the 4th did not.

  • Bob Parkman

    Legislation? Just words. They can mean whatever we want them to mean.

    • Layla

      Right now, they mean TYRANNY.

  • Packard27

    By any means necessary…ehh Harry?

    Hey Mr. President, go ahead and remind us all again who won and who lost the election. Need we now add that not a single Republican, not one, participated in the making of your very own ObamaCare Tar baby.

    There are some of us who are greatly enjoying the slow unravelling of what you, Harry, and Nancy Pelosi concocted. No rush though. This may take years and the tar is beginning to get sticky.

  • cloud_buster

    What this admits (and which we already all know) is that the judiciary is explicitly politicized and its decisions are based on political loyalties not unbiased interpretations of the written law.

    So much for our Republic.

  • http://google.com SaraB55

    Try this (entirely realistic) scenario, Humberto: The GOP holds the White House and the Senate. One or two of the liberal justices on the Supreme court dies or retires. The Senate extends the “nuclear option” to include Supreme Court nominees.

    You trace out the rest of that scenario, Humberto, and tell us how happy you are that Harry Reid chose the nuclear option.

    • Laka

      Because your scenario requires abstract thinking, Democrats are unlikely to answer it.

  • Laka

    Alright Harry, you seem to think that when a law says “States” it includes “federal government.” You say it’s absurd to think otherwise.

    So here’s some similar language for you:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    I know you haven’t read the document this is written in, but honestly, it used to be an important one in America. So they’ll me, do you you think this means that powers not given to the Feds ARE reserved to the Feds?

    • Layla

      Really? Even Democrat Senators? We’re still waiting to see that.

      Vote them OUT in November.

  • Eric Carlson

    As I read the post I get that the DC circuit decision was of three Republicans but what about the Richmond court? dems or GOP?
    It would help a political neophyte like myself to get some context so I’ll search more elsewhere

  • mariadlewis

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  • http://iopian.blogspot.com/ IOpian

    Fact is they rushed the thing through and screwed up. Now they want a politicized court to cover their behinds with some predictive interpretation of what the Congress meant rather than what they wrote. Anybody paying attention should recall the bribery and strong-arm tactics to entice the states to establish local exchanges. It’s written exactly as they intended and the failure was thinking that everybody shared their exuberance for this fiasco. Apparently the majority of states thought otherwise.

  • Robert Smith

    Hussein Obama’s marxist delusions are a menace to mankind.

  • Layla

    The only absurd thing here is Senator Reid. You are going home, Democrats. Nobody forces laws on the American people without consequence.

    “We have to pass the bill in order to find out what’s in it”. (Should be on Pelosi’s headstone)

    “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”.

    Want more?

    • http://airmanjacobson.com/ get2djnow

      The fallout hasn’t even begun from that nightmare. When the law begins to apply to the rest of the country, and not just the individual market, the pooh will hit the fan for the demoncraps.

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