Democrats deflated by the anticlimactic end to Robert Mueller’s Russia probe desperately wanted to change the subject — and the Trump administration was only happy to oblige.
House and Senate Democrats on Tuesday seized on the Justice Department’s endorsement of a federal court ruling to eliminate Obamacare in its entirety, immediately renewing attacks on the GOP for trying to gut the law’s popular protections and rip health coverage from more than 20 million Americans.
The administration’s surprise decision — a shift from its prior stance that only parts of the Affordable Care Act should be thrown out — offered a unifying moment for Democrats still grappling with the news that Mueller would not charge President Donald Trump with any crimes and comes as the party readies a fresh legislative offensive on health care.
“It’s disgusting. It’s horrible,” said Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, the No. 4 House Democrat. “It’s what they were trying to do during the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, it’s what Republicans were doing when they filed the lawsuit. The president’s been clear about his position the whole time.”
And even as Democrats decried the move, they also saw it as a political gold mine.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) told Democrats in a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday that the DOJ’s decision was “a gift” to Democrats, who have struggled for months to keep the focus on their legislative agenda and not all things Mueller.