Congress is poised to take a vote–again–to repeal the nation’s new health care law next week.
It will be the 37th time, according to Congressional officials, that such a vote has taken place. It is not only a symbolic effort by House Republicans, it’s also a case of political déjà vu.
“We’ve got 70 new members that have not had the opportunity to vote on the president’s health care law,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Thursday. “Frankly, they’ve been asking for an opportunity to vote on it and we’re going to give it to them.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi mocked the effort by Republicans as a waste of time.
“I think it represents the bankruptcy of their agenda,” Pelosi said. “They don’t really have anything to talk about.”
The Affordable Care Act has received the blessing of the Supreme Court–and, effectively, a majority of Americans, who had the chance to reject it by denying President Obama a second term last year. But even though the health care law is steadily moving forward, some Democrats have raised stern warnings about the challenges of putting the new rules in place.
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Finance Committee that was key to writing the law, has said he is deeply concerned by the lack of information for small business owners who are trying to implement the law. He warned of “a huge train wreck coming down.”
With Democrats controlling the Senate and the White House, along with a majority Supreme Court ruling that found the health care law to be constitutional, even critics like Boehner concede the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean Republicans won’t go ahead and take another vote to try to overturn the law.
“I want to repeal the law of the land,” Boehner said Thursday. “Is that clear?” When asked if it would be more productive for Congress to try and make changes to improve the current law, he replied: “I don’t believe there’s a way to fix this and to make it acceptable to the American people.”
The White House on Thursday also sharply criticized the move.
“The fact that Republicans have continued to push for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act,” press secretary Jay Carney said, “demonstrates how out of touch they are with the American people, who are tired of efforts by Republicans to re-fight the political battles of the past.”
ABC News’ Arlette Saenz and John Parkinson contributed to this report.