* Paul Ryan today offered reporters some useful candor on how Republicans will respond if the King v. Burwell lawsuit succeeds:
When asked on Friday at a meeting with reporters, House Ways & Means Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), a key figure overseeing U.S. health policy, said there was no desire among Republicans to tweak the law to defuse the case.
“No,” Ryan said.
The Republican chairman said his party feels “obligated” to come up with a contingency plan for the King v. Burwell case. He said a ruling against the government, which he and other Republicans are calling for, would “affect real peoples’ lives.”
“The idea is not to make Obamacare work better,” he said, adding that the goal would be to give states more freedom “to get out of Obamacare.”
Got that, SCOTUS clerks? If the Court upholds the challenge, gutting subsidies to millions in three dozen states, there won’t be any GOP “fix,” despite the hints from other Republicans to the contrary. Oh, and all that talk of a “contingency plan”? That’s probably also a bait-and-switch. The question now is whether the potential consequences and disruptions will weigh on the justices; Republicans apparently think they just might, judging by the pains they are taking to create the impression that if the Court rules against the ACA, something or other will happen to make everything okay. — gs
* Brian Beutler reports that King v. Burwell’s own legal architect is undermining efforts by Republicans to play that bait-and-switch game by plainly admitting the result of a successful challenge would be political chaos and a de facto full repeal of the ACA.
* More legal experts are beginning to take seriously the questions news organizations are raising about the standing of King’s plaintiffs. Expect still more next week.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber on Friday announced plans to resign amid scandal, marking a sudden and dramatic endpoint to one of the longest careers in the state’s political history.
“I am announcing today that I will resign as governor of the state of Oregon,” Kitzhaber (D) said in a long statement.
“It is not in my nature to walk away from a job I have undertaken — it is to stand and fight for the cause,” he wrote. “For that reason I apologize to all those people who gave of their faith, time, energy and resources to elect me to a fourth term last year and have supported me over the past three decades. I promise you that I will continue to pursue our shared goals and our common cause in another venue.”
Just one month after becoming the first Oregon governor to begin a fourth term in office, Kitzhaber will become the first to resign because of alleged misconduct. He and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, are being investigated for misusing their influence for personal financial gain.
In the end, it was the pressure from Democrats that became impossible for Kitzhaber to resist. Because Oregon has no lieutenant governor, Secretary of State Kate Brown will now become governor.
* This morning we discussed a new NBC poll that showed support for Obama’s request for war authorization. Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and the First Read crew analyze the numbers and caution that support for war is very fragile. But note this interesting tidbit:
Americans are divided over whether President Obama will be remembered more for ending a war (40%) or starting a new one (44%).
It’s safe to say that starting a new war is pretty much the last thing Barack Obama wants to be remembered for.
* The Congressional Progressive Caucus comes out against President Obama’s proposed war authorization against ISIS, calling it overly broad, signaling Obama will have a tough time getting Democrats to support him on this one. With Republicans objecting, can any war authorization pass Congress? — gs
* With the House Speaker and other Republican lawmakers claiming that Obama’s request for war authorization is too limiting, here’s your tweet of the day, courtesy of LOLGOP:
Boehner: Obama is a tyrant who put the Constitution in the wood chipper and must be given unlimited power to make war
* Wish you could eavesdrop from the next restaurant table while Ted Cruz tells John Bolton all about his nascent presidential campaign? Well Rebecca Berg did, and she reports what she heard. Yep, Cruz really looks like he’s going to do this.
* Jennifer Rubin catalogues the many reasons Cruz is doing poorly in the 2016 polls, which basically come down to, “Because he’s Ted Cruz.” My words, not hers.
* Glenn Kessler dings Rand Paul for claiming — twice in one day — that he has a biology degree, when he actually never graduated from college, so he has no college degree at all. Although he did go to med school, and graduate from there. It’s all very confusing.
* And New York City, population 8.4 million, just went ten days without a murder for the first time on record. Which is apparently what happens when you elect a socialist liberal hippie mayor who disrespects the police.