Democrats Try to Punch Back at House GOP

Posted May 17, 2013 at 10:53am

It was a long week on Capitol Hill for House Democrats, as the chamber’s Republicans hammered President Barack Obama for agency misconduct under his watch, then topped things off with a House vote to repeal his 2010 health care law.

Democrats, however, tried to fight back on Thursday afternoon, looking to beat their GOP counterparts at their own game.

House Republicans scheduled the up-or-down vote to dismantle Obamacare, they said, in part to give the GOP freshman class a chance to go on the record against it.

In that vein, 45 freshmen Democrats argued Thursday, they should be able to have a chance to vote up-or-down on legislation to replace the sequestration with a “balanced solution.”

“This week, the House will vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which it has already done thirty-six times,” they wrote in a May 16 letter to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. “Your justification for another unnecessary repeal vote has been that it allows freshmen members their first formal opportunity to let their constituents know where they stand on repeal. However, you have not allowed freshmen the same opportunity to vote on a balanced alternative to replace sequestration.”

Meanwhile, House Administration Committee member Gregg Harper, R-Miss., continued his crusade this week to pass legislation that would terminate the Election Assistance Commission.

Created when Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002, the EAC was given more than $3 billion to dole out to states for improved election administration and is intended to be a clearinghouse of sorts to help facilitate the electoral process.

Harper, however, along with fellow House Administration Committee Republicans, contends that the EAC has outlived its usefulness and has not had any meaningful impact for a long time. Though the House passed his bill in the 112th Congress, it went on to die in the Senate.

On Thursday, panel Democrats introduced legislation that would do the opposite of Harper’s bill: it would reauthorize the EAC and make “substantive improvements” to reinvigorate the commission.

Of course, both Democratic efforts are symbolic ones. In a Republican-controlled House, they are all but dead on arrival – or, dead on press release.