In Congress, ruling reaction reflects partisan divide
WASHINGTON - Democrats celebrated. Republicans fumed. And while some promised to continue fighting to kill President Obama's signature health law after Thursday's defeat at the Supreme Court, others in the GOP said it was time to try other tactics, at least until they can take back the White House.
WASHINGTON - Democrats celebrated.
And while some promised to continue fighting to kill President Obama's signature health law after Thursday's defeat at the Supreme Court, others in the GOP said it was time to try other tactics, at least until they can take back the White House.
"As long as there's a president named Obama, the health-care law will not be repealed," said Rep. Charlie Dent (R., Pa.). "We're going to have to deal with the law as it is, and try to make changes wherever and however we can."
Democrats, by contrast, gleefully celebrated a win that protects Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) tweeted a photo of himself and Obama, taken as the president savored a spoonful of Italian ice. "America Wins! Obamacare Wins!" read the caption.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D., N.J.) held up his arms like a victorious boxer.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) said in a statement: "The Supreme Court has made clear once and for all that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and is here to stay."
But Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) said the ruling "does not change the fundamental fact that Obamacare is inflicting widespread damage on our economy and our health-care system."
There was no consensus, though, as Republicans groped for a way forward.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R., Ohio) said he would keep pushing to repeal and replace the law.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) made no such promises. He said the law's supporters can "crow" or try to fix a law "that continues to make life miserable for too many of the same people it purported to help."
The 2016 presidential race is shaping up as the next battleground.
Republican contenders promised to replace the law if they prevail.
"This decision is not the end of the fight," said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, considered a top-tier Republican contender.
"Now leaders must turn our attention to making the case that ObamaCare must be replaced," Gov. Christie wrote on Twitter, days before he plans to announce his White House run.
Rick Santorum, the Republican former Pennsylvania senator now running for president, said the decision shows the need to elect a conservative, saying he would repeal "the monstrosity."
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leading Democratic contender, said Republicans should end their assault.
"Health insurance should be affordable & available to all," she tweeted.
Even if a Republican captures the presidency, though, ending the law will be tricky. More than 10 million people had paid premiums and received health coverage through the law's exchanges as of March 31, and 8.7 million received tax credits to help afford it.
A repeal would risk upending their health care. Proposing detailed alternatives would open Republicans to attacks.
"This is getting woven into the fabric of the country," Fattah said.
Gov. Wolf, a Democrat in his first term, said the decision will help roughly 382,000 Pennsylvanians keep aid that helps them pay for health coverage. In New Jersey, senators said the number was about 172,000.
Pascrell, while celebrating, did not expect the GOP to give up.
"A rational human being would change," he said. "These guys? You're asking too much."