THE CBO KEEPS SPOILING THE GOP’S FUN…. The first wave of the Republicans’ anti-health-care crusade proved to be a reckless waste of time. Knowing the outcome in advance, the House approved a bill to bring back the old, dysfunctional, budget-busting system and strip millions of families of their benefits, only to see the Senate defeat the same bill.

We saw the second wave yesterday, though it’s likely to meet an identical fate.

The House voted Friday to block funding for the health care law in several ways — starting the countdown to the defunding clash with Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama.

As expected, lawmakers approved Rep. Denny Rehberg’s amendment to the continuing resolution, which bars all payments to “any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department or agency” to implement the law.

The Montana Republican’s amendment is aimed at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Labor Department.

The final vote was 239 to 187. Three Democrats broke ranks and voted with the GOP majority, while two Republicans voted against the measure.

The point of the effort isn’t subtle — if there’s no funding to implement the law, American families can’t enjoy the new protections and benefits. Republicans couldn’t repeal the reforms, so they’re trying to gut them from within. The Rehberg measure was accompanied by three other amendments: (1) blocking enforcement of the individual mandate; (2) denying funding for health insurance exchanges, apparently because giving consumers more choices is communism; and (3) freeing insurance companies from having to spend so much on patient care.

Honestly, I wonder sometimes if congressional Republicans just don’t like Americans very much.

In any case, the measures, the latest in a series of efforts for the GOP to avoid trying to create jobs, will die in the Senate, but will nevertheless be part of the Republican case as to why they’re inclined to shut down the government.

And at nearly the exact same time as the Republican votes to destroy the Affordable Care Act, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office delivered a revised estimate on what repealing the Affordable Care Act would do to the federal budget: the federal budget deficit would go up $210 billion in the first decade, and roughly $813 billion in the second decade.

So to review, House Republicans are making brutal spending cuts to domestic and foreign priorities, ostensibly because they’re worried about the deficit, while at the same time trying to destroy a health care law that lowers the deficit.

I don’t imagine GOP leaders were pleased with the CBO’s inconvenient timing, but since Republicans have decided independent cost analyses of their priorities no longer count, and the objective referee needs to be discredited, the latest score will probably be swept under the rug.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.