what eye thynk: I really thought we had put this behind us. In 2014, Republican candidates were admitting that trying to explain to their constituents why losing their newly acquired health care was a good thing wasn't going to win them any votes. Maybe, they seemed to be saying, it was time to give up the multiple attempts to repeal the President's signature law.
Well, I was wrong. Now that the GOP has the majority in both chambers, they're back at it again--and constituents be damned.
Yesterday, since there is nothing pressing on the Congressional calendar, (cough) Republican lawmakers decided to give it another shot...this time with a twist.It's hard to say with confidence exactly how many times congressional Republicans have voted to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act... We know that in each instance the vote served no practical purpose...
...The Associated Press reported yesterday: House Republicans advanced legislation Tuesday to dismantle President Barack Obama's health law that could actually reach the president's desk.
The House GOP has voted more than 50 times to repeal all or parts of the health law. Almost all the bills died in the Senate. But this time, Republicans are using a special process that prevents Senate Democrats from blocking the legislation.
The process is called the 'budget reconciliation process'...that allows budget-related bills to be considered in both chambers while prohibiting Senate filibusters.
In other words, GOP lawmakers have already voted several dozen times to gut the U.S. health care system but this will likely be the first time they'll force a presidential veto on the matter...
...On the surface, the endeavor is just raw partisanship--GOP lawmakers want to be able to boast to their rabid base that they tried, repeatedly, to repeal "Obamacare." But just below the surface, congressional Republicans see this as a dry run of sorts. They believe that there's a real chance that in 2017, Americans will have elected a Republican president...at which point GOP officials will need a plan to tear down the health system currently in place.
It makes this year's gambit a proof-of-concept test. If they can use reconciliation to repeal all or part of the ACA now, they can simply repeat the process two years from now...
...The reconciliation process is only intended for bills that reduce the deficit, which is a problem for the Republicans since ACA repeal would do the opposite. But they intend to move forward with the plan anyway.
Because rules don't apply to them, you know.It should go without saying, but it's probably worth emphasizing that the Affordable Care Act is working very well; it's increasingly popular; and it's withstood Supreme Court challenges. There's simply no credible reason to pursue a repeal crusade...
And yet, here we are.
Postcript: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said yesterday that by going down this course, Congress can "start working toward a more affordable, higher-quality, patient-centered system.
Gee, where have we heard that before?