Rep. Anthony Weiner
Rep. Anthony Weiner, a strong defender of the Affordable Care Act and a stronger proponent of a single-payer system, believes that the Supreme Court might strike down the law because of the mandate. Not because he believes that the mandate is unconstitutional, but because of the highly politicized and conservative majority of the court.
He wasn't glum about it, though—if the mandate goes he said it will pave the way for Congress to pass the public option.
"If lightning strikes, and it turns out that as many of us believe, the Supreme Court turns out to be a third political branch of government and they strike down the mandate—big deal," Weiner said, expressing a 'so what?!' sentiment. "Big deal!"
"We pretty much see the direction the Supreme Court is going," he told an audience at the Center for American Progress. "The solution, if the mandate is struck down, is not that the bill falls like the house of cards ... the solution is going to be offering something everyone agrees is constitutional and that's the public option in the exchange."
He later told TPM's Brian Beutler: "The Supreme Court unfortunately is a corporate-dominated arm of the Republican Party right now.... I put nothing past them. But they would have to take a Bush v. Gore like leap to strike down the constitutionality of the whole law. Even the mandate is a pretty thin reed."
He's right in the public option being constitutional and that it could easily take the place of a mandate. There's also no question that there would be public support for such an expansion of the ACA. Two polls this week, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll and the CNN poll released today show "a majority of the country either backs the Affordable Care Act or wants it 'expanded.'"
The problem for Weiner, and for the rest of sane America, is that Congress doesn't listen to the reasonable, mainstream American majority. If they did we'd have a public option, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would have ended, and Congress and the White House would be spending every waking minute on figuring out how to create jobs. The extremists on the right have hijacked government, and they (and their corporate sponsors) call the tune.