Supporters of the Affordable Care Act have claimed it is settled law/the law of the land. It passed Congress, was upheld by the Supreme Court, and survived an election.
Lately, politicians and media pundits who make the claim have undercut their own argument by ignoring an even newer law passed by Congress, signed into law on a bipartisan basis, and verified by an election. It is the Budget Control Act, which includes sequestration.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made this clear two days ago in a floor speech (emphasis added):
“But I would remind everybody on both sides of the aisle that Democratic Senators have said repeatedly, ‘Obamacare is the law of the land’. And basically we should get used to it.”
“But let me also point out to all of you that the Budget Control Act is also the law of the land. It was negotiated on a bipartisan basis, signed by the President of the United States, and the Budget Control Act is the law of the land.”
“When the Majority Leader says he was negotiating with the house over the CR level, my view was that that was not a negotiation. That was current law. In place, passed on a bipartisan basis, signed by the President of the United States. Current law.”
“So as we go into whatever discussions we end up having to solve the shutdown problem, I would say to my friends on the other side, revisiting a law you negotiated with the President, passed on a bipartisan basis, that is actually reducing spending, ought not be part of the final outcome.”
Senator McConnell has struggled with his conservatism on a host of issues, but his speech was right on. For all the claims by President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and others that Obamacare should be accepted, for them to fight for a “clean CR” that spends $21 billion more than what the Budget Control Act allows is hypocrisy of the highest level.
Unfazed by their duplicity, Democrats’ calls to spend more than sequestration allows undermine the “Republicans haven’t negotiated” meme. Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) pointed out on his Facebook page that the House has passed several Continuing Resolutions which spend more than sequestration. It is exactly the kind of compromise Democrats claim they want:
To those who rest their argument on “#Obamacare is the law,” I would remind you that the #sequester is also the law. And the so-called “clean CR” being promoted by Senate Democrats spends taxpayer funds at a higher rate than is legally authorized under the sequester for this fiscal year. Republicans have compromised by agreeing to this higher rate of spending in all our offers. I hope Senate leaders will come to the table to negotiate for the good of our country.
There are other arguments against the “settled law” claim, including Prohibition and laws supporting slavery. Obamacare is a bad law that needs to be repealed, and no negotiation by either party can change that.