The House of Representatives voted 232-185 Friday--on a largely party line vote--to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing or implementing the new health care law.
But the effort was largely a political exercise since Democrats, who control the Senate and the White House, won’t let the law die.
Republicans were determined Friday to leave the nation with a strong message as Congress left for a five week recess. A vote that combined two of the party’s favorite targets—the IRS and health
care—proved an inviting target.
The IRS has a vital role in implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, usually referred to as Obamacare. The IRS has to act on 47 of the law’s provisions, including
many of the more controversial ones.
But the IRS has been under fire for weeks because it targeted some conservative groups seeking tax exemptions. And Republicans have fiercely fought to dismantle the 2010 health care law; Friday’s
house vote was the 40th attempt at repeal.
Democrats felt Republicans gave them their own useful talking point as they head home—that Republicans are obsessed with the IRS and health care, and have done little to advance a
federal budget or an immigration overhaul.
“Call them the Repealicans, or perhaps the Repealican’ts, because they can’t repeal anything,” said Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.
But to Republicans, the IRS and the health care law are ideal symbols of what scares them the most about Washington: Big, expensive, out of control government.
“This is nothing short of an unwelcome big government overreach into the most personal aspect of our lives,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.