* In an interview with Roll Call, GOP Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn offered some frank remarks about the coming Supreme Court decision on the King v. Burwell lawsuit, which argues that Obamacare must be enforced as written, and thus that subsidies to people in three dozen states are invalid. After saying the GOP should hold off on holding a vote to repeal Obamacare, he added this:
Cornyn predicted the King v. Burwell case that will be argued before the Supreme Court in March will end up going a long way towards undoing the law.
The court will decide whether the law allows people participating in the federally run health care exchange to get subsidies. A decision denying the subsidies would significantly undermine the law.
“What I expect is that the Supreme Court is going to render a body blow to Obamacare from which I don’t think it will ever recover,” Cornyn said.
Meanwhile, GOP Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and John Barrasso have both suggested they are looking to SCOTUS to accomplish what Republicans failed to do legislatively and politically, i.e., repeal.
* A new Rand Corporation report looks at the impact of a SCOTUS decision gutting subsidies on the federal exchanges, a.k.a. the federally facilitated market, or FFM. Conclusion:
The authors found that enrollment in the ACA — compliant individual market, including plans sold in the marketplaces and those sold outside of the marketplaces that comply with ACA regulations, would decline by 9.6 million, or 70 percent, in FFM states if subsidies were eliminated. They also found that unsubsidized premiums in the ACA — compliant individual market would increase 47 percent in FFM states.
The question we apparently aren’t allowed to ask is whether the potential disruptions and human consequences will have any impact on the Justices.
* Ron Brownstein and Janie Boschma have a must-read look at a new demographic analysis that really explains the strength of the GOP’s hammerlock on the House of Representatives.
* Nancy Pelosi today appointed Dem Rep. Adam Schiff of California to the ranking slot on the House Intelligence Committee. That’s interesting: Schiff has been a leading critic of Obama national security overreach, calling for NSA surveillance reform, more transparency on drones, and a Congressional vote to authorize military action against ISIS.
* The New York Times reports that Democratic opposition is intensifying to the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, particularly to Obama’s authority to negotiate it without Congressional input before putting it to lawmakers for an up-or-down vote. This will be a major intra-Dem fault line.
* With John Boehner saying No today to a gas tax hike to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, Steve Benen has a good post explaining that federally-funded infrastructure repair used to be a bipartisan issue.
* On that nixing of the gas tax hike, here’s the Tweet of the Day, courtesy of Charles Gaba:
Great. I can use the gas savings to pay for the broken axle & front-end alignment after I run over potholes.
Seems like sound planning.
* Philip Rucker reports that Jeb Bush is sounding somewhat more tolerant about gay marriage than he has in the past; he’s actually claiming that we must respect rulings upholding marriage equality and must “show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue.”
One social conservative tells Rucker that this will be a liability among GOP primary voters.
* Meanwhile, in his new book, Mike Huckabee is also softening his views a tiny bit, noting that gay marriage might not be the only threat to traditional marriage and conceding we don’t have evidence of all the alleged harm marriage equality is doing. There’s also this:
“Shouldn’t a bisexual be able to have both a male and female spouse? Wouldn’t restricting that person access to both genders be denying the bisexual his or her marriage ‘equality?'”
Looks like we’re headed for some very serious debates about gay marriage in the GOP presidential primary!
Just got back from the gym, shredded on my new guitar, now just reading about
@SenatorBoxer‘s retirement. Interesting.