JIM CREES: Wasteful government spending

With each Obamacare repeal attempt, House Republicans are costing us money

So. A couple days ago, assembled members of the House of Representatives in Washington voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Some people will be thrilled at the news. Others may be dismayed. The thing is, Gentle Reader, you needn’t either get too excited or become too overly upset over this most recent turn of events. It doesn’t mean anything. Nothing. The entire exercise is useless. An empty gesture. What’s really unfortunate is that this is the 31st such empty gesture to be undertaken by our legislative representatives in the past couple years. That’s just sad. Let’s take the emotional argument out of the mix. Let’s ignore for a moment the “Obama is dragging us into Socialism” or conversely “This act is the best thing since sliced bread” arguments, and look for one quiet, calm minute at what is actually taking place in Washington. It’s this — the U.S. House of Representatives is wasting both the taxpayers’ time and the taxpayers’ dime to a monumental degree. A complete, total, utter, unmitigated waste of time. That’s all there is to it. Here’s how it works. On a pretty regular basis, Republican House members force a vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The issue is discussed, debated and chewed on for any number of days. They vote, and the repeal is passed by the House. The repeal action then moves on to the Democratic controlled Senate where it is blown out of the water. And nothing happens, nothing changes. Nothing. So last week, they did it again. Now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, please pay attention. Every time the repeal effort is started anew, members of the House spend a minimum of two days work dealing with the issue. (That’s the minimum ... so far. There have been many more days actually invested in the repeal effort, but we’ll stick to the minimum number for sake of argument.) At least 62 congressional work days have been wasted on an effort that even the most idealistic Congressman knows will never, ever come to fruition because of the way the Senate will most certainly respond. There have been 89 hours of debate covering the topic on the House floor. Eighty-nine hours!!! And, according to a study carried out by CBS, close to $50 million have been wasted trying to repeal the ACA — when each and every member of Congress knew exactly what the outcome of each and every repeal attempt would be. Two full weeks of work have been invested on the House floor since 2010 alone in pontificating about this act. Two full weeks. The Congressional Research Service estimates it costs American taxpayers $24 million a week to run the House of Representatives. To wit, two weeks of wasted time, (just on the floor), translates to $48 million. And remember, this staggering waste is being caused by the same people who regularly cry for small government, reduced governmental spending and less administrative waste at every level of government in Washington. What the heck??!!?? The people who are wasting YOUR time, and YOUR money in Washington are doing so full in the knowledge of how the system works. Each and every Republican Congressman debating the ACA on the House floor, and voting so enthusiastically to repeal this so-called “repugnant” law, know and understand there is no way under Heaven or on Earth that the repeal will actually pass. They know it. But ... they undertake the effort not one time. Not two ... or three ... or five. They run through the process 31 times! And again, it’s not that these folks are slow learners deserving of our compassion. They do it again, and again, and a again, and again knowing the repeal effort is ultimately fruitless. In fact, their Congressional leadership and their presidential candidate have admitted the only way they will ever repeal this law is to win control of the Senate and put a Republican president in the White House. They admit it. They say so openly. But ... It’s an election year. So they start the repeal process all over again. And we, dear fellow voters, (both Republican and Democrat), allow them to do so.