How the GOP will force a repeal vote in the Senate

It'll never get 60 votes, but forcing everyone to talk about undoing Obamacare is more fun than legislating

Topics: Healthcare Reform, War Room, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., U.S. Senate,

How the GOP will force a repeal vote in the SenateU.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at a news conference following the Senate Republican Annual Issues Meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 6, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) (Credit: Reuters)

Exciting news! Having already wasted a day of everyone’s time pretending to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House of Representatives, Republicans are now set to force a vote on repeal in the Senate, where purely symbolic expressions of legislative sour grapes can take weeks.

It was previously thought that Harry Reid would simply block a vote on repeal and that would be the end of it, but Minority Leader Mitch McConnell always finds a way. He could use “Rule 14″ to bring it to the floor, for example. Or — and this is what he’ll probably do — he could attach repeal as an amendment to something likely to pass the Senate.



The Heritage Foundation even has a little FAQ on how the Senate can repeal Obamacare. Of course, irony of ironies, every repeal option requires either 60 or 67 votes. “This would put many Senate Democrats in the interesting situation of voicing support for so-called ‘filibuster reform’ while at the same time using the filibuster rule to block an up or down vote on Obamacare.” An interesting situation indeed! I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot about “up or down votes” over the next two years, after having heard nothing about them, at all, from the ruling party over the last two years.

I am expecting basically weeks of make-believe repeal of Obama’s cootiecare health bill, over and over again. It just feels good, to the GOP.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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