House Republicans made good on their promise to repeal Obamacare today, and somewhere, Harry Reid is curled in a fetal position crying.
The House voted on Wednesday to repeal the sweeping healthcare law enacted last year, as Republicans made good on a central campaign pledge and laid down the first major policy marker of their new majority.
The vote was 245-189.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the healthcare law on the books would increase spending, raise taxes and eliminate jobs.
“Repeal means paving the way for better solutions that will lower the costs without destroying jobs or bankrupting our government,” Boehner said in remarks on the floor before the vote.
“Let’s stop payment on this check before it can destroy more jobs or put us into a deeper hole.”
The vote to roll back the president’s signature domestic achievement of the 111th Congress just 10 months after its passage underscores the deep divisions that still surround the new law. But whether House action will signal the beginning of a rapid dismantling of the healthcare overhaul or serve merely as a historical footnote remains to be seen.
Democratic leaders in the Senate have vowed to shelve the repeal bill, and Obama has said he would veto repeal if it ever reached his desk.
With those threats in mind, GOP leaders dared the Senate to take up the measure, and they promised to fight the healthcare law in other ways if repeal failed.
Harry Reid has put on a brave face, saying that a vote for repeal in the Senate would be a waste of time because it would undoubtedly fail. Not only that, but Reid claims Americans want Obamacare! Of course, if either of the above were a certainty then surely it wouldn’t matter if they voted on it in the Senate. If Americans truly love Obamacare so much, then this would be his golden opportunity to show how the radical Republicans who hate the poor are out of touch and out of control, and the Senate Democrats are the ones who really care about the country.
Reality is that there are a number of politically vulnerable Democrats in the Senate (hello, Ben Nelson?) who can’t afford to vote for Obamacare a second time. Democrats from swing states won’t necessarily feel comfortable screwing over their constituents by voting to support Obamacare for a second time, especially when they’ve got to face those constituents next year. Is it likely that an Obamacare repeal would pass the Senate? No, but it is possible, which is why Reid is probably crying into a little pink blanket somewhere right now. He’s politically in a tough spot. If Obamacare is so great and makes voters so happy, then what’s the problem with having another go-around with it in the Senate?
What is for sure is that even if the repeal were to pass in the Senate, there aren’t enough votes to overturn Obama’s veto. And Obama would veto the repeal, which is fine, because it would just make him look even more entrenched, radical, and out of touch. Republicans, meanwhile, are promising that if they can’t repeal Obamacare, they’ll defund and delay it as much as they can.
“Today we are keeping that pledge, and it is a start,” GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) said.
If repeal were ultimately unsuccessful, Cantor has said, Republicans would “do everything we can to delay and defund the provisions of the bill.”
This is exactly what Republicans need to be focusing on if they want to remain in office. We need to restore some sense of fiscal sanity to Washington, and that’s what Republicans need to concentrate on doing for the next two years.