Cartwright Questions AG William Barr On Not Defending Obamacare
When Attorney General William Barr appeared before a U.S. House panel this morning, Democratic U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright left to his colleagues questions about when and to what extent the Department of Justice will be releasing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on election interference. Instead, the Pennsylvania lawmaker focused on the DOJ’s recent decision to ask a federal court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. House Democrats have hammered the Trump administration over health care policy, and the latest move by the DOJ has given potentially endangered incumbents like Cartwright — whose Scranton-based district is a top target for Republicans seeking to flip seats in Pennsylvania — a chance to focus on an issue that helped Democrats regain the majority last year. During the hearing, Cartwright told Barr he viewed the DOJ’s decision to broad its case against the controversial health care law as reckless and lacking legal justification. “If your efforts are successful, millions of Americans would lose their health care. Tens of millions of Americans would see the premiums for their coverage skyrocket,” Cartwright said, skeptically asking if the agency had analyzed the effects of overturning the law. [More News] Former Allentown Controller Mary Ellen Koval avoids jail time in pay-to-play investigation » Barr responded that President Donald Trump would be proposing a substitute plan to replace Obamacare if it is overturned, but pressed further by Cartwright, he seemed to suggest that he doesn’t view the government’s position as one that will succeed in court. “Do you think it’s likely we are going to prevail?” Barr asked, adding: “I’m just saying, if you think it’s an outrageous position, you have nothing to worry about. Let the courts do their job.” A report last month from Politico suggested that Barr had concerns about the administration’s reversing legal course regarding the health care law. Citing unnamed sources, the news outlet said the decision was made despite objections from Barr and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Cartwright asked about that report, but Barr declined to comment, saying he would not get into internal administration deliberations. Morning Call Washington correspondent Laura Olson can be reached at email@example.com or 202-780-9540.