Transcript: Sen. Chuck Schumer’s statement on the Supreme Court health care ruling

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Transcript of remarks by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act on June 28, 2012:

“Well, this is not the first time – this is not the time, rather, for the supporters of health care to gloat. Nor is it a time for sour grapes from the law’s critics.

“Just as Speaker Boehner vowed not to spike the football if the law was overturned, Republicans should not carry on out of peak now that the law has been upheld.

“Democrats remain willing to cooperate on potential improvements to the law. But now that all three branches of government have ratified the law, the time for quarreling is over. The time for disputing its validity is over.

“Congress should now return to its full-time focus: the issue of jobs and the economy in America.

“If you ask people what they want us to focus on, it’s not re-hashing health care. There may be a small few on the far right who enjoy doing that. The American people want us to focus on jobs, the economy, helping the middle-class, and that’s what we will be doing the rest of the session even if our Republican colleagues simply want to look backwards.

“It’s unfortunate that Speaker [John] Boehner and House Republicans are planning to plow ahead with the repeal vote after the Fourth of July recess.

“The Republicans are, in a sense, trapped between their Tea Party base that wants to repeal this law at all costs and the rest of the country that wants them to move on.

“So far Republicans seems to be casting their lot with the Tea Party and this is a mistake. The public is fatigued with all these partisan fights, but they just want to keep re-enacting them.

“Plus, Republicans should not be so quick to dismiss another potential effect of this decision. The health care law could well receive a second airing with the public because of its decision. The court’s validation of the law may cause many Americans to re-consider their opinion of it as well.

“And there’s a precedent for this. When Social Security was passed, it was decried as socialism just like health care. Like health care, it withstood a constitutional challenge early on and, of course, Social Security went on to endure as a cherished program in the country. The health care law is getting more popular with time as more and more of it goes into effect.

“And lastly, let me say this. This decision preserves not only the health care law but also the Supreme Court’s position as an institution above politics. I and others have vocally criticized the court’s conservative block for its heavy-handed activism in recent decisions like Citizens United. But in this case at least the Chief Justice acted as the umpire that he promised to be.

“Some have expressed surprise over his vote in this decision. But maybe we shouldn’t be so shocked. After all, he’s the most powerful conservative in Washington who doesn’t have to worry about the next election. Unlike the GOP’s elected leaders, [John] Roberts can afford to follow the law rather than fret about his standing with the Tea Party. His was a welcomed display of judicial independence. The Supreme Court sure could use more and one swing vote every now and again.”


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