Yes, this happened today, too:
By voting to nullify Obamacare — the signature domestic accomplishment of the Obama administration — GOP congressional leaders fulfilled a longtime pledge to voters and rank-and-file members to get a repeal to President Barack Obama’s desk, even though he will veto it.
Republican leaders also want to send an unmistakable message to voters: If you elect a GOP president next year and keep the them in charge of Congress, Obamacare will go.
Those conservatives who have come to hate the GOP won’t believe this is anything but meaningless theater. I happen to disagree, and I agree with Jeff Sessions here:
“It demonstrates that if you have a president prepared to support health care reform, it could pass next time,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act who insisted this was not a show vote just because the President will veto the bill. “If this vote occurred after the next presidential election, instead of vetoing it the President would sign it. This would force a bipartisan reevaluation of health care in America and put us in a position to make major changes.”
You might ask: why now? Why is it that this was finally done, when previous efforts have come to naught? I don’t know the answer, but here’s the “how” it was done:
While the House and Senate have voted scores of times to repeal portions of Obamacare, this was the first time they are using a special tool known as “budget reconciliation” that allow the measure to clear the Senate with just 51 votes instead of the 60 votes typically required for major legislation. That higher threshold has allowed Democrats to block all past repeal efforts.
By steering these two hot-button issues into the reconciliation bill, Republican leaders also steered them away from a separate must-pass government funding bill Congress is dealing with now known as the omnibus. Had those controversial issues been included in that bill, it would have made even harder to pass before the December 11 deadline when the government could shut down.
If it was the House, I’d say perhaps it’s connected with the departure of Boehner and the installation of Ryan. But since it’s the Senate, I’m really not sure. I think it should have been done long ago, when it might have helped conservatives start trusting Republicans (a teeny bit, anyway) to do what they say they will do. As for the veto, I don’t see any way around that, and I don’t see that there ever will be while Obama is in office unless a lot of Democrats turn on him, which I don’t think has a chance of happening.