House Votes To Repeal ObamaCare For The 33rd Time
The House engaged in a mostly pointless action yesterday afternoon.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives followed up on a promise made after the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act and voted to repeal the bill for what amounts to the 33rd time:
The House voted again Wednesday to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law, a largely symbolic gesture that gave Republicans some revenge against the Supreme Court ruling that declared the law constitutional.
Republicans also see it as a way to motivate their base this fall as they fight to keep control of the lower chamber, win the Senate and take the White House.
Members approved the repeal legislation on a 244-185 vote, after five hours of debate that stretched over two days.
Five Democrats, most of them facing tough reelection bids, supported the repeal effort alongside the GOP, prompting the Republican National Committee (RNC) to declare the result “bipartisan.”
The repeal effort will likely die in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but the Republican minority there is working to force a vote, hoping to put vulnerable Democrats on the record before November.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed to push for a repeal vote against the “worst piece of legislation … in modern times.”
McConnell’s efforts will be for naught, of course, because Harry Reid won’t allow the bill to even get to the floor for a vote, where it would die at the Cloture Vote stage if it did anyway. If the GOP continues to force his hand on the issue, Reid can simply bring the bill up for a Motion to Table, which only requires a simple majority and cannot be filibustered under Senate rules, and the bill will die. But, of course, this vote wasn’t about putting forward a piece of legislation, it was about scoring a political point and reminding voters, yet again, that the GOP really, really, really doesn’t like ObamaCare. While I understand that desire somewhat, I have to wonder what the point is of doing something that you know isn’t going to go anywhere not once, not twice, but thirty-three times. Is there someone in America who they’re afraid might think the GOP is in favor of the law? Well, I don’t think they have to worry about that, because its been eminently clear for the past two years, and everyone knows that electing Mitt Romney and giving the GOP the Senate means, most likely that the bill, or at least the major parts of it like the mandate, will be repealed.
Already some Republicans are wondering what all of this has accomplished:
In a sign that the politics surrounding the law may have shifted a degree since the court ruling, some Republicans are emphasizing the need to quickly find other ways to implement those popular aspects of the measure, even as they insisted that it must be repealed in its entirety.
“As a doctor, I fully endorse — and as a Republican, I fully endorse — the goals of the 2010 health law,” Rep. Nan A.S. Hayworth (N.Y.), an ophthalmologist, said on Tuesday. “Every American should have access to good, affordable health care and affordable, portable health insurance.”
In moderate New Hampshire, Rep. Charles F. Bass (R) indicated that he wants to find a way to allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health-care plans and to prevent insurance companies from barring those with preexisting conditions from buying coverage.
Rep. Frank C. Guinta (R-N.H.) said he is “ready to sit down with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and health-care community members to amend this law as needed.”
Another Republican House member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe the thinking of GOP colleagues, said: “There are more voices now saying we’ve got to have something to replace the law with, and some substance to the replacement, because that’s what they’re hearing back home, because that’s what the other side hits us on. There are stronger calls for that within the conference.”
There’s also the small fact that there are real issues facing Congress that have to be dealt with this year. Specifically, of course, there’s the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” — the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts combined with sequestration, the end of the Payroll Tax holiday, the Medicare “Doc Fix,” and the probable need to raise the debt ceiling no later than early 2013 — that needs to be dealt with before the end of the year. There are budgets that need to be passed for each of the branches of government before the end of the Fiscal Year (like that’s actually going to happen, repeat after me: Continuing Resolution). Instead of moving on to that, though, the next vote after ObamaCare repeal yesterday afternoon was to rename a Post Office. Nice to see you keeping up with the hard work there, guys.
Obviously, I don’t expect much substantive work to be done, Congress is simply too polarized for that and Election Years seldom see Congress do anything major in terms of legislation. Historically, each side uses the pre-election period for strategic votes that will allow them to score political points during the campaign. That’s the way things have worked in Washington for decades, so its no surprise that the House GOP is doing it now. I just don’t know what they need to do it thirty-three times.