Five Democrats joined 239 Republicans Wednesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act (2010), President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law. The bill is not expected to be brought up in the Senate, much less be signed by the president, but is part of an effort to hold votes highlighting the Democratic members' positions on a range of issues. No Republican joined the 185 Democrats voting against the bill.
Republicans noted that the Supreme Court ruled last month that the ACA, also known as "Obamacare," is constitutional, but did so by ruling that the penalty for not purchasing health insurance is a tax. If it were known at the time that the law would raise taxes on the middle class, Republicans argued, it would not have passed.
Democrats, on the other hand, accused Republicans of wasting time and taxpayer money by holding a vote on a bill that they knew had no chance of becoming law during this session of Congress.
The ACA repeal will be the first of many votes held before the House breaks for its August recess. The votes are designed to put the Democrats on record on a number of issues. That record, Republicans hope, could be used against them during the fall election campaign. The votes may help some Democrats, though, who wish to solidify their conservative credentials by voting with Republicans.
Next week, the House will take up the Defense Department budget, which is facing cuts as part of the Budget Control Act (2011). After that, there will be votes on regulatory reform and tax reform.
Also, Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) and Diane Black (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation Tuesday that would, essentially, repeal the birth control mandate for religious employers.
A Monday Rasmussen Reports poll shows 53 percent of likely voters strongly favor or somewhat favor repealing the ACA. The poll is consistent with previous polls and CNN reported similar numbers in one of its recent polls.
The House has now voted over 30 times to repeal the ACA.