The Supreme Court's shock ruling that Obamacare's individual mandate is effectively a tax immediately mobilized the GOP this morning and prompted rival Mitt Romney to argue that voters need to toss out the president to ensure the law is defeated.
"If we want to get rid of Obamacare we're going to have to replace President Obama, and my mission is to make sure we do exactly that," said Romney in a brief news conference this morning. "Help us defeat Obamacare, help us defeat the liberal agenda."
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell was also fired up, saying Obama was deceptive when he was detailed the bill in 2010.
"The president of the United States himself promised up and down that this bill is not a tax ... the Supreme Court has spoken, this law is a tax. The bill was sold to the American people as a deception," said McConnell. "I can promise you this, Republicans won't let up whatsoever in our determination to repeal this terrible law."
The court ruled 5-4 that the Affordable Care Act's mandate is constitutional because it is in effect a tax, and Congress has the power to levy taxes. Opponents had argued it was an unconstitutional "penalty" on citizens who refused to buy coverage.
President Obama, in a short victory-lap press conference this afternoon, said he understood the reform may not be politically popular.
"It should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this for politics. I did it because it's good for the country," he said, adding sent a warning to the storm of angry Republicans already hitting the airwaves. "What the country can't afford to do is refight the political battles of two years ago ... It is time for us to move forward."
In the past, the president had argued that the mandate isn't a tax increase.
"I absolutely reject that notion," the president told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in a 2009 interview when asked if the mandate represented a tax increase.
This afternoon, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who fought for the bill when she served as speaker, acknowledged the new tax designation when pressed by reporters in a press conference.
"Call it what you will, it is a step forward for America's families," she said when asked if the reforms are a tax.
The decision could serve to re-ignite Republican and Tea Party anger that sent a wave of conservatives to Congress in 2010.
The highest court's ruling allows the Obama Administration "to move forward in implementing its radical policy that violates our constitutional right of individual Liberty," said the Greater Boston Tea Party in a statement.
The Republican National Committee quickly released a statement warning that, "Stopping Obamacare is now up to the American people."
RNC Chairman Prince Riebus simply tweeted, "Just elect Romney. We need #FullRepeal."
U.S. Senator Scott Brown called the federal health care law "wrong for jobs and the economy.
"All we got out of this massive new federal entitlement is higher taxes, cuts in Medicare and additional debt at a time when we can least afford it." he said in a prepared statement. "The bottom line for me is this law makes it harder for our economy to add jobs and for that reason I continue to oppose it."
Christine McConville contributed to this report.
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