- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2019

The Trump administration told an appeals court Friday it opposes House Democrats’ attempts to intervene in a court battle against Obamacare, arguing the legislative branch is veering out of its lane and that blue states already stepped in.

“The constitution assigns to the executive branch rather than the legislative branch the authority — and the duty — to represent all of the sovereign interests of the United States in court,” the Justice Department told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her troops argue the administration isn’t representing those interests very well.

They’re enraged that President Trump has taken a hands-off approach to the lawsuit, which says Obamacare’s provisions are so interwoven that Congress’ decision to gut the “individual mandate” to hold insurance should kill off the rest of the law.

The administration said if the courts decide the mandate is no longer constitutional, then consumer protections for people with preexisting conditions cannot stand, either.

A federal judge in Texas went even further in ruling against Obamacare in December, agreeing with plaintiff states who said the whole law should be invalidated.

Liberal attorneys general appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

The Justice Department said the House’s intervention, which it opposes on institutional grounds, would also be redundant.

“Even if the House had some cognizable interest, any such interest would already be represented by the intervenor states,” Justice attorneys wrote.

The White House on Thursday issued an economic analysis that argues Mr. Trump has been a good steward of Obamacare and reformed it in a way that makes it better for everyone.

At the same time, Mr. Trump has predicted the law will be “terminated” by the court battle.

Liberal groups say those varying positions undercut his professed support for people with preexisting conditions.

“Now he’s gone to court to silence the majority of Americans who disagree with him,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “In November, voters rejected the Trump administration’s repeal and sabotage agenda, and under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, the House responded to voters’ concerns by passing a resolution intervening in the Texas lawsuit.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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