House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters yesterday that President Obama and congressional Democrats are "in denial."
Yeah, denial's just awful, isn't it?
Capping a legislative work period more noted for what it failed to pass than for what it completed, the House voted for the 40th time on Friday to repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform law before heading home for a five week recess.The GOP-controlled House voted to approve a measure to prevent the IRS from enforcing "Obamacare" in a 232-185 vote.The legislation faces virtually no chance of advancing in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.
How many House Republicans voted for repeal? All of them who were on the Hill this morning.
If we include the Senate, the total number of votes held by congressional Republicans to repeal all or part of the federal health care law is 68.
We're talking about a group of folks who are very slow learners.
At this point, what more can be said about such ridiculous congressional antics? Perhaps just this: with each one of these repeal votes, Republicans reinforce the impression that they're not a serious governing party. On the contrary, they're becoming rather pathetic.
Paul Krugman noted in passing last night, "[N]either you nor I should forget that the madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time." This wasn't in response to health care, but it might as well have been.
Whether GOP leaders are reluctant to do unglamorous work or not, Congress has an enormous amount of work it should be doing right now. This is especially true in the House, where lawmakers are supposed to be passing appropriations bills, working on the farm bill, negotiating on a budget, and if we're really lucky, avoiding a debt-ceiling crisis in the fall.
Indeed, in the not-too-distant past, this was one of the more productive weeks of the year on Capitol Hill -- before a four-week break, lawmakers traditionally scrambled to meet deadlines and get some work done so they'd have something to boast about during the August recess.
But that was before Republicans decided governing was for saps. Why get real work done when there are talking points to repeat, partisan stunts to execute, and "message votes" to push?
GOP lawmakers have already wasted months championing culture-war bills they know can't pass and obsessing over discredited "scandals," so there's something oddly fitting about voting 40 times to take away Americans health care benefits, not because they expect their legislation to pass, but because vanity exercises like these make Republicans feel warm and fuzzy.
It's as if Americans elected children to control half of the legislative branch of government.
Indeed, it's been interesting of late to see President Obama give a series of speeches on the economy, and in nearly all of them, he takes time to mock congressional Republicans for these votes. Every time, the audience laughs -- because in a way, this really is funny.
When lawmakers make fools of themselves, I suppose Americans should laugh at them.
It's a shame Republicans aren't in on the joke.
Update: Americans United for Change released a new video this afternoon, driving home exactly what the House GOP voted for (all 40 times).