It is unfair to say Republicans have achieved nothing in their dozens of attempts since 2010 to repeal Obamacare. In Tuesday’s repeal effort by House Republicans — their first of this Congress and their 56th overall — it became clear that they had succeeded at one thing: They had bored even themselves into a slumber.
For much of the debate Tuesday afternoon, no more than a dozen seats were occupied on the pro-repeal side of the House. More than once, the GOP had nobody available to speak.
“The Affordable Care Act is a civil rights act, and it’s got to be upheld,” argued Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter early in the debate. Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas, leading the Republican side, had no one to offer a rebuttal. “I reserve,” he said.
Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky argued that “repealing the Affordable Care Act at this stage would be an absolute death sentence to thousands of people.” “I reserve,” Burgess said again.
Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the Democrats’ floor leader at the time, asked if the Republicans had any more speakers — “because it seems like there’s no enthusiasm on your side.”