After 40th vote to gut Obamacare, lawmakers head home
Measure expected to go nowhere in Democrat-controlled Senate
As their final act before leaving for their August break, lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted Friday to disallow the Internal Revenue Service from implementing the Affordable Care Act -- their 40th attempt to repeal or gut the law known as Obamacare.
The measure sponsored by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia passed 232-185, though like all other attempts by the GOP-led House to end the health care law, it's expected to go nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The IRS, to the chagrin of many Republicans already resentful of the tax agency, has been tasked with implementing many of Obamacare's key features, including the individual mandate to obtain health insurance. GOP skepticism of the Obamacare rollout was fueled by revelations the IRS was targeting conservative groups applying for tax exempt status for extra scrutiny.
"The IRS clearly has not been able to prudently and impartially enforce current tax laws," Price said after Friday's vote. "It has abused its authority by targeting individuals and organizations. There's no reason to trust this massive agency with one of the most personal aspects of our lives - our health care."
Democrats have mocked Republicans attempts to repeal Obamacare as useless, given the balance of power in the Senate and the fact Obama himself still sits in the White House.
Speaking at a press conference Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said her GOP colleagues would have trouble explaining themselves to voters during the August recess.
"How do you explain to the American people that today Congress will go into an August recess and after more than six months in this Congress, this Republican Congress, we still have no jobs bill, we have no budget bill and we have the threat of shutting down government and not raising the debt ceiling without repealing the Affordable Care Act," Pelosi said.
"This was a do-nothing Congress and now it has gone to something worse. It's an aimless Congress that is falling into chaos; it's a make-matters-worse Congress. We should not leave until we address the challenges that we face," she continued.
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