The Corner

Harry Reid Thinks the Nuclear Option Will Save Obamacare

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) believes that a D.C. Circuit Court panel’s invalidation of an IRS regulation that governs Obamacare subsidies vindicates his decision to move forward with the nuclear option, a procedural move that made it easier to confirm President Obama’s judicial nominees.

“I think if you look at simple math, it does,” Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon. 

Because of the nuclear option — when Reid broke the Senate rules to change the Senate rules pertaining to the filibuster of judicial nominees — Senate Republicans were unable to block three of Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, Democrats have a 7–4 majority on the court. 

The Justice Department is going to ask the full court to overturn the 2–1 ruling, issued Tuesday morning, which held that people who enrolled in Obamacare through the federal exchange are not eligible for the federal subsidies designed to make Obamacare cost less for individuals.

“If needed further proof that that’s an outlier, all you needed was to wait a couple of hours for the Fourth Circuit — which they decided the exact opposite,” Reid said. “Two activist Republican judges sought to undermine a law that was passed by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court, and is now benefiting millions of Americans. It seems clear to me that that decision is going to be overturned.”

If the full D.C. Circuit Court overturns the panel’s decision as Reid expects, the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court. If four justices agree that the appeal is worth hearing, the Supreme Court will take the case; if not, the lower court’s ruling will stand.

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