Last week, the House of Representatives, in a colossal waste of time, voted for the 33rd time to repeal President Obama's health care plan.
Going into the vote, there was absolutely no question as to the result and its utter futility. The Republicans voted for repeal, as they do every time, and the Democrats (with the exception of the five who voted against the bill when it passed in the first place) voted against. The repeal effort will then go nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Even if it did, it would be vetoed by the president.
Do it once, and you make a point. Do it twice, and you reaffirm that point. Debate it for the 33rd time, and you are wasting the time and money of the people you're supposed to be representing.
Like so much in Washington these days, the exercise in the House had absolutely nothing to do with what the House is supposed to do, which is legislate. It was pure political theater at its worst. Running a movie that we've already seen 32 times is beyond boring. It's offensive.
Now, everyone understands that the health care bill will be an issue in the fall election. Fair enough. That is where the debate belongs. If Republicans end up controlling all three branches of government, no doubt they will repeal the bill. If they don't, they won't. If they want to go out and campaign and give 33 — or 330 — speeches about what's wrong with the bill, that's what campaigns are for.
But 33 useless debates and votes on the floor of the House? Enough is enough.
The Republicans' excuse for the vote was the Supreme Court decision upholding the law as a tax. But Republicans have been calling this bill a tax since Day One. Mitt Romney himself called the similar penalty in the similar bill that he sponsored and signed in Massachusetts a tax. What you call it may matter in terms of constitutional analysis, but it doesn't make a bit of difference in terms of this week's vote. No one changed their vote based on the label put on the bill. Everyone knew going in that it didn't matter.
Certainly, there is nothing unusual about proposing bills with no chance of passing in the House and Senate in order to draw attention to important issues. But 33 times goes beyond reason.
The 33rd time, it's no longer about what's right or wrong with the bill, but what's right or wrong with the legislative process — and the ugly partisanship in Washington.
No more. And guess who loses. Not the proponents of health care or the opponents, but We the People who sent them there.