GOP Freshmen Demand Pointless Vote

One of the dirty little secrets that most people don’t understand about politics is that a lot of votes taken in Congress have nothing to do with actually changing policy. Instead, those votes take place solely so that they can be used during the next campaign. Here’s a perfect example:

House conservatives are clamoring for a floor vote on a full repeal of the 2010 healthcare overhaul, saying that freshman Republicans need an opportunity to tell their constituents they tried to scrap the law.

“The guys who have been up here the last two years, we can go home and say, ‘Listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace ObamaCare.’ Tell me what the new guys are supposed to say?” second-term Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said Wednesday at a forum sponsored by the Heritage Foundation…

After two years in which House Republicans voted on a near-weekly basis to repeal part of or all of the healthcare law, the GOP leadership shifted strategy following Obama’s reelection in November.

With repeal of the law seemingly impossible for the next four years, top Republicans are instead eyeing more modest measures that could change the law or its implementation.

But that’s not sufficient for many hard-liners in the conference who want the party to continue to push for full repeal.

“I want a chance as a freshman to do that, even if it’s just symbolic,” Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) said.

Because 36 votes to do something that everyone knows will not get done isn’t enough.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Nah, too many actually.

    What a waste of time and energy and more.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    But that’s not sufficient for many hard-liners in the conference who want the party to continue to push for full repeal.

    Wow, they are new. You have to pay extra for full repeal.

  • Draken

    I have a proposal for a new law. Anyone who has proposed 3 failed votes in a row gets excluded from any political activity for the next 8 years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.desper rickdesper

    Perhaps this time they will achieve the proper frequency of feet-stamping that will allow for passage of their vote.

  • shouldbeworking

    None of them got to vote for war with Japan in 1941 or with Britain in 1812 either. Perhaps congress could recycle all the historic votes so the latecomers can get their names into the books.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1369962643 erikjensen

    I don’t see anything wrong with symbolic votes like this, provided they don’t take up too much time. Many times people on the “right” side of history have demanded to vote on bills or amendments destined to fail. For example, the McGovern-Hatfield amendment for complete withdrawal from Vietnam was never going to pass, but at least it gave some senators a chance to take a stand.

    I don’t agree with repealing ObamaCare, but I see nothing wrong with letting these people take a vote for the record.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I don’t see anything wrong with symbolic votes like this, provided they don’t take up too much time.

    All things considered, I’m a lot happier with the House wasting time than doing what they do when they’re not. (*cough* sequester *cough*)

  • martinc

    Why do The Onion even bother to keep publishing?

  • D. C. Sessions

    martinc, did you read their coverage of the Boston Bombing News?

    Read it. And then read this:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/bush-our-long-national-nightmare-of-peace-and-pros,464/?ref=auto

    And if those don’t answer your question, I give up.

  • http://stochasticscientist.blogspot.com kathyorlinsky

    By all means, let the GOP freshmen go on record as trying to get rid of Obamacare before all the benefits kick in next year and people realize how much they like it.

  • http://dododreams.blogspot.com/ John Pieret

    Because 36 votes to do something that everyone knows will not get done isn’t enough.

    I suspect they correctly evaluate their constituencies as full of people too stupid to know that the 37th time is not likely to be the charm.

  • Childermass

    kathyorlinsky @ 10:

    By all means, let the GOP freshmen go on record as trying to get rid of Obamacare before all the benefits kick in next year and people realize how much they like it.

    Those who don’t want Obamacare won’t be instant converts. That is a process that will take years. The vast majority of people don’t go bankrupt in any particular year because they were denied coverage. But because everyone can get coverage, more people will be going to doctors and thus there will be longer waits for nonemergency care that Fox News will scream bloody murder over. Also, millions of people are having larger deductions from their paychecks because the insurance their employer had provided was not quite good enough. And as with anything new and complicated, somewhere there will problems which will get a lot of coverage. Over the next decade or two people will realize it is not going to make us communist and indeed the system was better than the alternative.

  • eric

    Tell me what the new guys are supposed to say?”

    “I didn’t waste your time and money bringing useless votes to the floor.”

    “I spent the political capital you gave me wisely, on votes that got you actual benefits rather than merely symbolism. Bob – your school got that new building because I focused my efforts on appropriations bills instead. Sue – your business got that tax break because….”

    “There are 45 GOP senators and 235 GOP representatives. Repealing Obamacare requires 66 senators and 290 representatives.”


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