Biden calls President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee a threat to the ACA, says the Senate should wait until after the election before holding hearings.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden argued Sunday that President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court less than 40 days before the election is all about getting rid of Obamacare.
In a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, the former vice president decried the decision to nominate Barrett “before Justice Ginsburg could be laid to rest” and “after hundreds of thousands of Americans have already cast their ballots.”
And he painted the push to confirm Barrett quickly as a clear attempt to undermine former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
“It’s no mystery about what’s happening here. President Trump was trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act. He’s been trying to do it for the last four years,” Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “The Republican Party has been trying to eliminate it for a decade. Twice already, the Supreme Court has upheld that law.”
“Now, all of a sudden this administration believes they found a loophole: the tragedy of Justice Ginsburg’s death,” Biden said.
More: Health care law faces another Supreme Court showdown, this time without Justice Ginsburg’s vote
Trump officially nominated Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, Saturday in the White House Rose Garden.
Barrett’s nomination raised concerns about her possible impact on health care, especially the Affordable Care Act, which is slated to come before the court one week after the November election. If Barrett is confirmed before Election Day, she could be on the bench to hear the case, which could lead to the entire law being tosses, along with protections for preexisting conditions.
“This is about your healthcare. This is about whether or not the ACA will exist. This is about whether or not preexisting conditions will be continued to be covered. This is about whether or not a woman can be charged more for the same procedure as a man. This is about people’s health care in the middle of a pandemic,” Biden said Sunday.
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Early Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court. Would be a big WIN for the USA!” Despite his promise of a health care alternative to the ACA, Trump has not released any specifics of his plan.
During an ABC News townhall, Trump told ABC host George Stephanopoulous that “You’re going to have new healthcare, and the preexisting condition aspect of it will always be in my plan,” but, again, failed to mention any specifics.
Biden’s remarks Sunday echoed what he said in a Philadelphia campaign appearance earlier this month, when he warned, “Donald Trump is at the Supreme Court trying to strip health coverage away from tens of millions of families and to strip away the peace of mind from more than 100 million people with preexisting conditions.”
On Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent a letter to Senate Democrats about Barrett’s nomination, telling them the best way to fight back is to focus on health care.
“Our number one job is to communicate exactly what is at stake for the American people if Republicans jam through this nominee,” Schumer wrote in his email. “The elimination of the Affordable Care Act is at the top of the list. The most immediate and consequential issue at stake in this Supreme Court vacancy is the future of the Affordable Care Act, which hangs in the balance.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., echoed similar sentiments on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning.
“What I am concerned about is anyone that President Trump would have appointed was there to undo the Affordable Care Act. That is why he was in such a hurry, so he could have been in place for the oral arguments which begin Nov. 10,” Pelosi told host Jake Tapper.
If confirmed, Barrett would give conservatives on the court a 6-3 advantage and have a lasting effect on issues such as abortion and gun rights, in addition to health care.
Her nomination itself has also been highly controversial because in 2016 Senate Republicans blocked then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland on the grounds that it came too close to the election. Democrats have accused Republicans of hypocrisy for objecting to that nomination, which occurred nearly eight months before the 2016 election, but approving of Barrett’s nomination, which occurred little more than five weeks before the 2020 election.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and then-Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote in an opinion piece in 2016 the Washington Post that “Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, we believe that the American people should seize the opportunity to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate the next person for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”
More: Then and now: What McConnell, others said about Merrick Garland in 2016 vs. after Ginsburg’s death
However, 46 days before the 2020 presidential election McConnell said, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” a reversal from his position four years ago.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted between September 19-20, found that 62% of Americans believe that the winner of the November election should appoint the replacement for the vacant seat. Forty-nine percent of Republicans and 84% of Democrats are included in that majority of Americans.
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