After the Supreme Court upheld a major portion of President Obama's Affordable Care Act Thursday, a number of Republicans promised that the battle over the ACA was far from over. The president had one response for them: "It's time to move on."
"With this case behind us, we're going to keep working to make health care in America even better and more affordable and to get more people covered," Mr. Obama said Saturday in a video. "But it is time to stop refighting battles that have been settled again and again. It's time to move on."
Several GOP contenders vying for the White House in 2016 have already promised to do the exact opposite. Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling was handed down, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush vowed to "work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz added that he remains "fully committed to the repeal of Obamacare."
Some are also leveraging the Supreme Court decision to fundraise for their 2016 campaigns -- including some in the president's own party. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sent an email to supporters on Thursday saying, "Supporters of health reform won at the Supreme Court this morning, but if you think we're done fighting to protect the progress we've made, you should think again." Clinton's campaign urged voters to "chip in $1 or more" to keep fighting for health care.
The president was hesitant, however, to encourage the politicization of the judicial ruling.
"This is not some abstract political debate," Mr. Obama continued in his video. "For all the misinformation campaigns and doomsday predictions, for all the talk of death panels and job destruction, for all the repeal attempts, this law is helping tens of millions of Americans. This isn't just about Obamacare. This is health care in America."
The president's address recalled his speech from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, where he said that if the court had ruled against the law, "America would have gone backwards."
Instead, the "law is working exactly as it's supposed to," the president said Saturday. "And this week, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law, after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law, after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, we can now say this for certain: the Affordable Care Act still stands, it is working and it is here to stay."
In their own video, the Republican Party urged the funding of a controversial defense policy bill.
"There should be no question that ensuring our service members have the training, equipment they need to fulfill their missions is a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars," Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, said Saturday.
The defense bill in question, which the White House has repeatedly threatened to veto, passed in the Senate last week. The wide-ranging bill provides a pay increase for military servicemen and women, gives $3.8 billion to Afghan security forces and accelerates ship-building, among other measures. But only moments after the vote, Senate Democrats blocked a separate bill that would fund it.
"Unfortunately, Senate Democrats are working to stop funding these priorities that will keep the men and women of our military safe, protect our nation against security threats and help us fight violence around the world," Boozman, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said. "This strategy to avoid Senate debate of the defense appropriations bill risks serious damage to our national and global security."
With GOP leaders warning that America now faces "the highest threat level we have ever faced in this country," Republicans are attempting to frame the defense funding fight as a foreign policy priority.
"We must remember that our enemies around the world view this political gridlock as a sign of weakness," the Arkansas senator warned. "This perception invites our enemies to create chaos and engage in aggressive, destabilizing behavior."