House Republicans will make the first vote of the new year a meaningful one. Meaningful in that it demonstrates how useless the Republican-led Congress is in this election year. Yep, they're going to vote to repeal Obamacare—signed into law in 2010, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, and reaffirmed by the Court in 2015—again.
But this time is different. Not in that it will work because it's going to be vetoed by President Obama as soon as it hits his desk and because they don't have the votes to override a veto, but in that it's actually going to reach his desk. That's because they used a legislative process to pass it that avoided a filibuster by Senate Democrats, and only needed a simple majority vote. So that's different, and so is the little bit they tacked on to defund Planned Parenthood.
GOP leaders are trying to frame the inaugural 2016 vote to repeal ObamaCare as a way to set their agenda for the year ahead of their joint House-Senate policy retreat in Baltimore next week.
"House Republicans will immediately set a tone that represents a better path for our country by sending the president a bill that repeals Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood while providing additional funding for community health centers to ensure women continue to have access to quality care," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) office wrote in a Monday blog post.
Democrats, meanwhile, are dismissing the latest ObamaCare repeal vote.
"Here's a New Year's resolution Republicans should think about: quit attacking the health care of America's women and working families,," said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Fat chance. Because after they vote on it once, and the president vetoes it, they'll vote again, this time to override the his veto. Which will fail. Making it the same as the other nearly 60 times they did this: lots and lots of time and taxpayer money spent on giving Republican politicians the chance to make floor speeches about how much they hate Obamacare. And Planned Parenthood. The calendar may have rolled over, but nothing else has changed.