40 things the House could have done while it was busy repealing Obamacare

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) makes his way to a House GOP caucus meeting, on Capitol Hill, July 9, 2013 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) makes his way to a House GOP caucus meeting, on Capitol Hill, July 9, 2013 in Washington, DC.

What can you say about a U.S. House of Representatives that devotes the last day before summer recess to a futile exercise it has already performed 39 times? We’re talking, of course, about today’s 232-185 vote to roll back the Affordable Care Act, this time by prohibiting the IRS from carrying out any of its designated roles. Majority Leader Eric Cantor claimed (falsely) that the health care law gives the IRS “access to the American people’s protected health care information,” and that the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013” will somehow safeguard our medical privacy. The House bill has zero chance of becoming law—its passage was largely an exercise in what Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas might call “self-pleasuring.” But imagine what these dogged legislators could accomplish if they took 40 votes on 40 issues instead of one! Here’s a list of 39 chores worth returning to someday. What’s number 40? Please tweet your nomination, using #40things.

  1. Pass the American Jobs Act
  1. Raise the minimum wage
  1. Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act
  1. Pass a Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act
  1. Create an infrastructure bank
  1. Repeal tax breaks for outsourcing jobs
  1. Create tax incentives for insourcing jobs
  1. Update and strengthen the Voting Rights Act
  1. Revive the 2010 DISCLOSE Act to shed light on corporate money in politics
  1. Pass a Supreme Court ethics act
  1. Authorize states to restrict out-of-state campaign contributions
  1. Institute a carbon tax to address climate change
  1. Reduce tax breaks for oil companies
  1. Increase support for sustainable clean energy
  1. Pass an immigration bill
  1. Ban assault weapons
  1. Institute universal background checks for gun sales
  1. Institute universal pre-K education
  1. Pass a paid parental leave act
  1. Hold a conference with the Senate to pass a federal budget
  1. Revive domestic safety-net programs shredded by sequestration
  1. Restore the 1.6 million jobs being lost to sequestration
  1. Restore international development aid lost to sequestration
  1. Restore sequestration cuts to Medicare’s fraud-control program
  1. Renovate the U.S. Postal Service
  1. Restore the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps)
  1. Restrict junk food advertising to children
  1. Cut subsidies to agribusiness
  1. Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act
  1. Ban racial profiling by police departments
  1. Reform drug laws to end mass incarceration
  1. Hold open hearings on the NSA’s XKeyscore program
  1. Hold open hearings on the NSA’s PRISM program
  1. Restrict and regulate drone assassinations
  1. End restrictions on the transfer of cleared prisoners from Guantanamo
  1. Repeal the Hyde amendment and restore Medicaid funding for abortion
  1. Remove military sexual assault proceedings from the military chain of command
  1. Address the backlog on VA benefits
  1. Expand the Affordable Care Act to cover all legal U.S. residents

House repealed #Obamacare for 40th time tdy! Here are 39 things they could've done: http://t.co/LhUNOz8Qu7. Pls tweet me 1 more w/ #40things — Geoffrey Cowley (@geoffreycowley) August 2, 2013