The 56th Obamacare Repeal Vote

A day after Groundhog Day (as noted by Russell Berman in his Atlantic article on the vote), House Republicans will vote for the 56th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Berman quotes John Boehner as saying the gesture is for the House freshmen, who have all presumably promised to repeal Obamacare but haven’t gotten to prove it by a vote. It also enables the now-Republican Senate to get fully on record as favoring Total Repeal, at least until it is filibustered.

But I suspect there’s another reason for the vote: to provide some political cover in case congressional Republicans decide they have to “fix” ACA subsidies if they are partially demolished by the Supreme Court in June.

Now Greg Sargent, who’s been writing about this issue as obsessively as yours truly, thinks the vote could actually backfire by making it plain Republicans cannot agree on anything other than tearing ACA down entirely, thus perhaps alarming the Supreme Court into drawing back from a destructive ruling on King v. Burwell.

So this most hammer-headed of redundant votes could actually be a move in a game of three-dimensional chess. Go figure.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.