House Democrats who swept back into power on the promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions face tough legal and political choices as they try to make good on that vow.

Those promises galvanized millions of voters. But now, like the Republicans previously elected on promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, they face the formidable challenge of turning campaign rhetoric into reality.

And with the Senate and White House still in Republican hands, Democratic leaders have only one surefire weapon in their arsenal: a resolution to jump into the court fight over Obamacare’s consumer protections. That would empower the House Counsel to intervene in the lawsuit brought by 20 conservative state attorneys general that threatens to abolish the health care law.

“There’s a clear picture that the thing we will definitely do quickly is intervene in the lawsuit” to defend the law, a Democratic leadership aide told POLITICO.

Beyond that, their strategy is still up for grabs: Several key Democrats promise a more confrontational approach that includes early showdown votes with Republicans in Congress over the law’s future. First on that agenda: legislation strengthening Obamacare’s popular pre-existing condition protections that would force GOP lawmakers to go on record for or against a law that many worked for years to kill.

“Let’s nail them down,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). “A bunch of Republican candidates did a complete U-turn on the pre-existing condition question, and they made it back into office based on that profession of faith. Now, everybody should be asked to commit and vote.”

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