House Speaker John Boehner set out to preside over a do-nothing Congress, and he has succeeded. As this week’s scheduled repeal vote of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) shows, Boehner is an over-achiever. Depending on who's counting this is something like the 38th Obamacare repeal vote.
“We've got 70 new members who have not had an opportunity to vote on the President's health care law," Boehner said. “Frankly, they've been asking for an opportunity to vote on it."
Boehner has previously acknowledged that the ACA is the “law of the land” and is not likely to be repealed. So this is purely symbolic.
I hope Boehner won’t be holding repeal votes for every “law of the land” that the Republicans don’t like. If that were the standard for what gets a vote in the GOP-controlled House, the Republicans would be doing nothing but pointless votes for a long time.
But if Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor are going to hold symbolic votes, why not vote on issues that would show where they really stand?
For example, if Republican members want to show how strongly they oppose the ACA, they should vote to repeal particular parts of it, like the end of insurance company discrimination against people with health conditions? How about a vote on the provision that allows adult children to stay on a parent’s plan until 26? Or a vote on Paul Ryan’s proposal to end Medicare as we know it?
Better yet, instead of holding meaningless votes, maybe the Republican House could develop real plans to create jobs or repeal the sequester’s across-the-board cuts that are devastating America’s families. But that isn’t very likely, since getting real work done won’t advance the GOP’s 2014 electoral goals or hurt President Obama.
Speaker Boehner said it himself – the vote to repeal Obamacare is not about health care, it’s about politics. It’s also another day wasted doing nothing instead of something for our nation’s seniors and for the middle class and those working their way into it.
Let’s be honest: This repeal vote is sport – a chance for Republicans to demonstrate their gratuitous opposition to this President. There are much better things to do in the Congress than play political games. Congress should focus on creating jobs and helping the economy.
Cross-posted on Huffington Post