CONGRESS//HEALTHCARE | The East Bay’s two progressive congressional Democrats applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday mostly affirming the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Reps. Pete Stark and Barbara Lee called the narrow 5-4 decision a “victory” for all Americans.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the health reform law is a victory for the health of all Americans. Our nation has joined the rest of the modernized world by guaranteeing quality, affordable health care to all our citizens,” said Stark, who had a hand in drafting the historic bill two years ago. “The Supreme Court’s decision prevents our country from returning control of Americans’ health to big insurance–an industry more concerned with profits than their enrollees’ health.”

Added Lee: “The Affordable Care Act will now take its rightful place with Social Security and Medicare as powerful examples of what this country can do to improve the lives of every American.”

In the early aftermath of the supreme court ruling today, rhetoric from Republicans often repeating the catchy refrain of “repeal and replace” has already set the stage for heated campaign and legislative battles this fall. Both Stark and Lee reserved pointed jabs for their conservative colleagues. “Now we can and must stand prepared to fight back any Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deny health care and patient protections to millions of Americans,” said Lee. “We cannot turn back now but build upon this victory and continue our march toward affordable, quality health care for all.”

In Stark’s classic brusque style, he urged Congress to refocus on putting people back to work. “Today’s ruling marks another step forward: an end to Republicans’ call to repeal the health reform law. Americans don’t have time for their partisan charade–they never did,” said Stark. “Congress needs to focus on Americans’ top priorities of job creation and strengthening the economy.”