The Corner

Counting Repeal Votes

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted yesterday that House Republicans were about to “vote for 56th time to repeal/undermine the Affordable Care Act.” I don’t think you can generate a number that high without including 1) bills most people wouldn’t consider to be anti-Obamacare bills; 2) bills supported by a lot of House Democrats; and 3) a few bills that Pelosi herself supported and President Obama signed into law.

The New York Times has compiled a list of all the votes “to repeal or defund, in whole or part, the Affordable Care Act” (h/t Justin Wolfers). It illustrates the point. It counts the bill to repeal 1099 reporting requirements for small businesses, a bill that had the support of 76 Democrats. Were they undermining Obamacare? When Pelosi joined a large majority of her caucus to enact the fiscal-cliff deal, was she undermining Obamacare? What about when they voted to extend a payroll-tax cut? Or raise the debt ceiling? Maybe Democratic support for Obamacare is softer than we thought.

Actually, Pelosi would presumably answer no to most or all of those questions. In that case she should probably use a lower number.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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