Senators on both sides of the aisle sounded off today after hearing arguments before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the health care law, with lawmakers from both parties intimating that their side has the upper hand.
After hearing today's arguments before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the health care law, Senate Republicans and Democrats reacted; both intimating that they believe their side has the upper hand.
"I would say the government had a tough day," Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said following the conclusion of the day's arguments.
Republicans who observed today's proceedings pointed to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's line of questioning, as evidence of what they see as the court leaning toward ruling that the law is unconstitutional. When speaking about the individual mandate, the part of the law that requires most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, Kennedy asked whether the law "changes the relationship" between the federal government and the individual in a "very fundamental way."
Senate Democrats left today's arguments blasting Republicans for having proposed the individual mandate back in 1993. "Republicans have gone from being the main champion of the individual mandate to being its main antagonist," Sen. Schumer, D-NY., said today, "The Republicans were fathers of the original mandate and now suddenly they want to give it up for adoption on the steps of the US Supreme Court."
And Democrats also had a different read on the arguments and questioning from the justices on the individual mandate today.
"I am convinced after listening to the two hours this morning that this court can go no other way than to uphold the individual mandate that the Congress has put into the Affordable Care Act," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA.
Democrats, when asked about their "Plan B," should the law be ruled unconstitutional by the court, would not or could not define any back-up plan. Republicans stuck to their talking points; they will continue to work to repeal the law going forward, they said.
"Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of what I believe is the single worst piece of legislation that's been passed in the time I've been in Congress, it's still a bad idea," Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., said, adding that his first item on the agenda, should the Republicans take control of the Senate, would be to repeal the bill and "replace it with something that makes more sense."
Senate Democrats also blasted Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, saying that should he become the Republican nominee, the issue of health care should be "off the table," during the general election.
"Mitt can run but he can't hide," Schumer said, "No matter what he has to say now, Mitt Romney is a walking, talking amicus brief in favor of the president's health care law."