The House voted to great fanfare, again, on Wednesday to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law. And although the vote might have political implications for some Members, the process seemed like a drag to others.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) woke up at 6:15 a.m. Wednesday knowing full well the vote to repeal “Obamacare” was destined to die in the Senate.
“The thing that I don’t like about this job is you necessarily have to do some things for primarily political reasons,” he said in an interview in the Longworth House Office Building. “Let’s don’t kid ourselves or be naive about it. If something’s not going to become the law and you vote on it anyway, then you have to have a motive other than good legislating.”
Around the same time in the same building, Rep. William Lacy Clay was meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus at its weekly gathering.
“We’ve seen this act more than 30 times before. It’s just another one of their political stunts,” the Missouri Democrat said in a phone interview, taking a break from the meeting. “We know what the outcome is going to be.”
To underscore some of the strangeness of the day, there was even confusion about how many times the House has voted to repeal all or part of the law. GOP leaders say the number is now 33 times. Some Democrats said 31. Regardless, the ultimate result was the same. The House voted 244-185 to repeal the law.
The vote, as Gowdy pointed out, comes after the Supreme Court last month upheld the law’s individual mandate as appropriate under Congress’ authority to tax. Such a development could put some Democratic Senators on the spot, he said.
But still, when he came to Washington, D.C., he didn’t know how often the votes would be symbolic. “I had no idea what I was getting into,” he said, adding that he first realized that many of his votes were for show during last year’s debate over a continuing resolution.
“You’re voting on things in the middle of the night that you know have the same chance of becoming law as my son taking Kate Upton to the prom. Actually he may have more of a chance. It just has no chance,” the former prosecutor said. “So why do you do it? You do it because the jury’s watching. And instead of viewing this as a mini-trial, it’s a piece of evidence in a trial.”