According to The Washington Post’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, there were 37 votes to scale back Obamacare before Wednesday’s two votes in the House.
But those 39 don’t include the Senate, where Reid’s office has documented 28 votes, all but a couple in the form of Republican amendments. This might explain the new findings that Congress is holding more votes than ever but passing fewer bills.
Wednesday’s 66th and 67th attempts went much like the previous 65, except for a mid-debate recess so that lawmakers could have their official photograph taken on the House floor.
“This bill is unraveling before us,” exulted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) reported that “the train is not coming off the rails; it’s already off the rails.”
On the Democratic side, Rep. John Dingell (Mich.) responded by saying, “Einstein observed that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again with the full expectation that the results are going to be different.” Actually, the quote is probably apocryphal — but Einstein didn’t live to see the 113th Congress.
The proposals on the floor Wednesday were relatively mild: One codified the delay in the law’s employer mandate already announced by the Obama administration, and one extended the delay to the individual mandate. And Republicans weren’t entirely logical or consistent in advancing these proposals. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) accused the Obama administration of ushering in “socialism,” while Brady argued the contradictory position that the White House is “just listening to the voices of business” and ignoring “Joe Six-pack.”
But Republican lawmakers were clear about one thing: The tally of attempts will continue to rise.
“Postponing the two mandates are only the latest steps to repeal Obamacare,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) said on the floor.
Rep. Luke Messer (Ind.) explained that “each day this law is delayed gives us more time to seek its total repeal.”
The overkill isn’t irrational. As The Post’s Sarah Kliff noted, research shows that people resist regulations more vigorously if they think the requirements will eventually be repealed. “If it’s 37, 38, 39, I don’t care,” Rep. Rich Nugent (R-Fla.) said this week. “If we do it 100 times, sooner or later we’ll get it right.”