Continue Reading Below
The request comes after the Department of Justice in March agreed with a Texas judge's decision to strike down the health law as unconstitutional after the GOP-led tax law removed the requirement that individuals purchase insurance or pay a yearly penalty.
The Trump administration previously held that its elimination did not invalidate other aspects of the law, including the Medicaid expansion, employer mandate and creation of the insurance exchanges.
Should the White House stance prevail, the Democratic lawmakers said it would have “catastrophic implications for millions of American consumers and the United States health care system.”
“The Department owes Congress and the public an explanation as to why it refuses to enforce the law and we request that you provide previously requested information to us and make certain individuals available for questioning,” they wrote in letters to the White House, Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department.
The coalition is seeking a list of all White House officials who were involved in the discussions on the new legal stance, as well as copies of communications shared between the White House, DOJ, HHS and the Office of Management and Budget.
Signatories to the letters were House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone of New Jersey, Way and Means Chairman Richard Neal of Massachusetts, Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott of Virginia and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York.
The lawmakers argued that the administration’s position is unjust because Congress failed to overturn the health law after passing the tax measure, indicating that the institution believes the individual mandate is separate from the other aspects of former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
“In attempting to override the will of Congress, the White House has demonstrated clear disregard for this obligation. It has also demonstrated that it is willing to undermine DOJ's independent responsibility to enforce the law, as well as a longstanding, bipartisan tradition of defending laws enacted by the United States Congress,” they wrote.
The coalition of Democratic chairmen also wrote that Trump’s stance on Obamacare runs counter to his other policy goals, namely to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
The White House has employed an office created by the health law to help push forward its agenda on the issue, an entity that would no longer exist if the entire statute is ruled unconstitutional.