Speaker John A. Boehner puts the odds of Democrats winning back the House at 1 in 3. While the Ohio Republican may be making things look a bit worse than they are in order to encourage fundraising and turnout on Election Day, he’s still admitting the GOP doesn’t have a lock and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could retake the speaker’s gavel after just two years on the back bench. That’s a change in course America can’t afford.
Who holds the reins in Washington couldn’t be more important given Thursday’s expected Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. If the law is thrown out, three-quarters of Americans want new legislation, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released last week.
It’s unlikely Congress could do anything decisive on health care reform until after the election, so control of the next Congress is critical. Mr. Boehner is ready to do what he can now. “Unless the court throws out the entire law, the House will vote to repeal whatever is left of Obamacare,” the speaker said on Thursday. “Then we need to enact common-sense, step-by-step reforms that protect jobs and protect Americans’ access to the care they need from the doctor they choose at a lower cost.”
If voters give Mr. Obama and Democrats a sweep in November, they’re not going to let Obamacare die without a fight. “The administration has pressed forward with implementing various aspects of the Affordable Care Act and will continue to do so,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday.
The justices could issue a narrow decision only tossing the individual mandate, in which case, Democrats will have to find another way to pay for Obamacare’s expensive goodies. Mrs. Pelosi has a plan. “To borrow a Supreme Court metaphor, you have to eat your vegetables. You have to have the mandate in order for this to work from a financial standpoint,” the California Democrat explained last week. She wants a “surcharge on the wealthy,” which is code for tax increases, though she didn’t delineate who would be hit by this new levy.
In December 2009, a reporter from CNS News asked Mrs. Pelosi where in the Constitution Congress was granted the authority to legislate an individual health insurance mandate. Then-Speaker Pelosi responded incredulously, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” She retains her optimism, saying on Thursday: “I believe that the court will rule in favor. We’re ironclad constitutionally. We are ironclad on the merits.”
The House Democratic leader proclaimed in March 2010 of the 2,700-page legislation, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” Well, that’s exactly what happened, and the public didn’t like what it found. If voters want to rest assured that Obamacare is killed off for good before its third birthday, they should make sure Mrs. Pelosi stays in the minority.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.