Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) promised to schedule the first full Obamacare repeal vote for this legislative session. That vote, which will likely come on Thursday, will give freshman Republicans in the 113th Congress the opportunity to cast their own purely symbolic vote against health care reform. It will also mark the 37th time that the GOP-controlled House has voted to get rid of the health law.
And, as the New York Times points out, House Republicans’ obsession with repealing Obamacare becomes even more apparent when the amount of time they’ve devoted to that issue is calculated as a percentage of the total time they’ve spent on the floor:
The repeal vote, which is likely to occur Thursday, will be at least the 43rd day since Republicans took over the House that they have devoted time to voting on the issue.
To put that in perspective, they have held votes on only 281 days since taking power in January 2011. (The House and Senate have pretty light legislative loads these days, typically voting only three or four days a week.)
That means that since 2011, Republicans have spent no less than 15 percent of their time on the House floor on repeal in some way. […]
Michael Steel, [Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman], said that spending 15 percent of their time on the issue was hardly a waste for Republicans. “Given that the bill amounts to a takeover of roughly 15 percent of the American economy,” he said, “that sounds about right.”
By some earlier estimations, Republicans in the 112th Congress wasted about 90 hours and $50 million dollars on their multiple failed efforts to get rid of the health reform law. This new Congress is shaping up to be no different. Even though Republicans have admitted they have lost on Obamacare, and are even acknowledging that their future repeal efforts will fail, they have continued to block legislative efforts to amend the health reform law in favor of stubbornly opposing it altogether.
The House conservatives who are focused on pushing the leadership further to the right have been particularly intent on scheduling a full Obamacare repeal vote this session. “It’s something that we wanted to move up on the list of priorities,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) told the New York Times. “And I’m glad they listened to us.”
Successfully repealing Obamacare would put more than 30 million Americans’ health coverage at risk, as well as increase the national deficit by billions. It would also ignore the opinion of the majority of the American public, who think that implementing Obamacare should be a top priority in their state. At this point, now that the bulk of the health law has already gone into place, most Americans aren’t interested in defunding it or repealing it altogether — they would rather tweak it to make it better.