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Chairman Nadler Statement Supporting Resolution to Defend ACA in Court

Washington, DC, January 9, 2019

Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered the following remarks, as prepared, in support of authorizing the U.S. House of Representatives to defend the Affordable Care Act against legal challenges in court after the Department of Justice's unprecedented refusal to do so:  

"Madame Speaker, I rise in strong support of this Resolution authorizing the House to defend the Affordable Care Act in court against baseless, but potentially devastating, litigation designed to dismantle the law.

"Because of the ACA—which passed without a single Republican vote—millions of Americans now have access to health insurance, including those with preexisting conditions.  Yet, ever since it became law, the ACA has been the target of non-stop attacks by Republican politicians, intent on stripping Americans of the important protections guaranteed by the law.

"For the last eight years, when the Republicans controlled the House, they voted 62 times to repeal the ACA, but never once came up with a proposal to protect Americans with preexisting conditions.

"But despite all the Republicans' efforts, the ACA still stands today—continuing to guarantee access to affordable, quality health insurance.

"Now, 20 Republican State Attorneys General have launched a new attack on the law, based on tortured logic and flimsy legal reasoning.  The Department of Justice has a duty to defend every duly enacted law, absent exceptional circumstances.  The Trump Administration, however, has broken this well-established norm, and now refuses to defend the law from this latest challenge, a decision that caused several career Justice Department attorneys to resign in protest.

"The Judiciary Committee will be investigating how the Administration made this blatantly political decision to abdicate its responsibility, and the Committee will be holding those responsible accountable for their actions.

"But while the Trump Administration turns its back on people with preexisting conditions, and people who would go bankrupt without the law’s cost-sharing subsidies, with this Resolution the House of Representatives has an opportunity to provide the defense that the ACA—and the millions of Americans who depend on it every day—deserve.

"Although legal scholars across the ideological spectrum find the plaintiffs’ argument laughable, it has found a sympathetic judge in Texas, who recently ruled that the entire law must be overturned.  This Resolution would authorize the House to intervene in the case as it works its way through the courts on appeal, to ensure that the law’s vital protections are properly defended in court.

"I urge my colleagues to support this Resolution, and to allow the House to fend off this latest Republican assault against the health and well-being of Americans.  I yield back the balance of my time."


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