4 Better Ways To Spend The $55 Million Wasted On Trying to Repeal Obamacare

Written by Bryce Covert, Adam Peck

For the 37th time since 2011, House Republicans will hold a vote to repeal Obamacare on Thursday, bringing the total cost of all of their failed repeal votes to roughly $55 million in taxpayer money, according to one estimate.

Last year, CBS News calculated that the number of hours spent on 33 repeal votes — then roughly 80 hours, or two full work weeks — cost taxpayers an estimated $48 million. Since then, Republicans have held three more votes (another $4.5 million) and will add another $1.5 million with their latest.

At a time when lawmakers have implemented $85 billion in across-the-board cuts on top of $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, no dollar can be spared. And the country has serious health-related needs that could use funding. Here are some better health care uses for the more than $50 million these symbolic votes against the Affordable Care Act have wasted:

1. Restore cuts from sequestration to Title X family planning programs and Title V maternal and child health services. The National Women’s Law Center calculates that a 5 percent cut to the budgets of each program will reduce them by $15 million and $32.5 million, respectively. Rather than voting to repeal a bill that expands women’s access to preventative services, the House could use the money to expand them.

2. Double the Department of Justice’s budget for sexual assault services, which has currently been authorized a $50 million budget. The program gives money to states so that they can support rape crisis centers and other nongovernmental organizations that provide direct intervention, core services, and other assistance to the victims of sexual assault. Current funding is inadequate, as some states receive less than $300,000 and many programs lack the resources to meet victims’ needs.

3. Grant a request for $50 million to train 5,000 new mental health professionals as part of a new initiative to expand mental health treatment and prevention services. This proposal came in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting to address gaps in the mental health system.

4. Help states implement paid leave policies. President Obama included a $50 million State Paid Leave Fund in his 2011 budget to provide start-up support for states that want to enact paid leave for workers. More than 40 percent of workers don’t have access to paid sick leave, heading to work when they or their family members experience an illness, but this funding could help give them a better option.

The current Congress is on track to be the most unproductive since the 1940s, but still has time to hold votes that won’t result in actual legislative change. There are many other priorities lawmakers could focus on instead and better ways to spend taxpayer dollars.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


Photo: mar is sea Y/flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Kay Martin
Kay M4 years ago

Thank you Bryce for the article, as of today 8/3/13 they have tried 40 times to repel Obama care. and nothing. I enjoyed reading all of the comments from the care 2 members. This congress is turning out to be the worst, do nothing congress in the history of this country...ever. How do these idiots keep getting re elected, Are all americans stupid? or are the election crooked, so no matter who we vote for, only republicans get elected.? That is what happen to Gore vs Bush....I think they keep doing it over and over, and the supreme courts lets them get away with it over and over, and now the court is letting them steal what little voting rights we have left.... we need to stand up say no and fight.....period

Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo4 years ago

Thank you for exposing some of the harm inflicted on the U. S. by those who hold our nation hostage. They do not want Congress to function because they want to create the sense that government doesn't work because if they do that, then they can persuade the American people to believe that we don't need a government at all, and they along with their supporters can run amok.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

The only reason we have a healthcare crisis in this country is because employers no longer wish to provide that benefit because they are more concerned with global competition.

The ONLY way to contain the cost is to pen in the health care Insurers. We Also have to make Hospitals cut costs. The Doctors, for the most part, are not the ones causing the ludicrous rise in the cost. The ACA is the only plan that Obama could get implemented. The right was perfectly fine just staying out of any kind of Health care Act of any kind. And they did a HORRIBLE job regulating the insurance companies……who are also too big to fail.
Too big to fail is bad for our country. It always has been. Thats why we had strict anti -trust laws. we USED to realize campaniles that get so big they control entire markets are dangerous to our countries well being. Obama presented a plan at first that you on the right all screamed NO to.

Avril Lomas
Avril Lomas4 years ago

Regarding SCANDAL hearings.(such as they are.)
Here is the REAL SCANDAL.A Congress that for the past five years has DONE NOTHING
A collection of Overpaid people,enjoying their $197,000 salaries, Universal health Care,(which they denied to the American people,(you know the electorate!) and lifetime pensions and "Working"126days of the year. and doing all things possible to deny the implementation of the Presidents policies,why? Racism and bigotry.
WHEN we should ask are they going to work on improving the ECONOMY, Creating JOBS,PRODUCING a working BUDGET.and fixing the rotting infrastructure and disgracefull roads in this country.??
All requested by the majority of the public, you know the ones who voted for these turkeys.They DARE to talkof SCANDALS, all behaving like a gang of thesbian wannabee,s
(giving ridiculous speeches,lying etc.) their arrogance is AMAZING. their only passion 38 attempts to repeal healthcare.and use taxpayers money to do so.
When are the American voters going to wake from their TORPOR and demand action on the above issues? (economy etc?and taking care of the needy in this country,improving the awful education)Cut out the theatricals and get down to real work.?
Call ,Write, Petition . do whatever is needed to tell them that they are totally on the wrong track.(or America is doomed to failure.

Rob Keenan
Rob Keenan4 years ago

The Seattle Times story I cited isn't about what insurance rates did "days after" the law passed,Robby K.,but what they're doing NOW,just a few months before the first provisions are implemented.In my state at least,which is one of the ones which will implement the entire law,those rates have stablized.AND You know that unexpected,dramatic drop in this year's deficit,Robby K? According to the non partisan CBO,that's because of both Obamacre-the reason why I already explained-and the expiration of the GWB tax cuts for the wealthiest-it has NOTHING to do with the sequester. But AGAIN,the reality is that Obamacare,no matter how many more times the House Boehner Maniacs "repeal" it,is the law of the land at least through all of next year,which is why each such vote is wasted time,which is what this article is about.At the same time,when it comes to other needs,such as finding jobs creating money to repair those 70,000 bridges-before they start killing people-the Boehner Maniacs instead take their latest PAID furlough,so the can go on the Sunday shows and make,even in the view of a couple of my Republican friends,total asses of themselves.

Rob Keenan
Rob Keenan4 years ago

I watched that "Real Time," Dorthy,and S.E.Cupp sure was obnoxious,trying to shout down Bill when he pointed this out about Obamacare;she seemed to like a nightmare Right(wrong)Wingnut
highbred-Sarah Palin eye glasses,while being as batshit as Michele Bachman.

But the real point is the claims the Republicans made prior to this 37th vote have no basis in reality;and their vote denies another important reality,that when a majority of us rejected Romney who promised if elected to repeal Obamacare,it,along with Obama,won.And these 37 vote are likely to haunt the Rs in '14 simply because by that election after the law's full implementation,a clear majority will likely decide that they like enough it to reject those who tried to repeal it-hopefully including Boehner!

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer4 years ago

Last post (cont'd)
There are still 12 million Americans out of work (and you would want to put more than a million more on unemployment with your inane reduction of 25%) thanks to Bush crashing our economy with his Laissez-Faire style of governance of the financial markets and thanks to 30 months of teapublicans in Congress trying to make sure Obama was a one term President. The nitwits did not learn from the 2012 elections, America will remember in 2014 and hopefully that election will put a stake through the heart of the teapublicans in Congress...

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer4 years ago

You say you want limited government, reducing federal personnel by 25%, That is just as crazy as anything the Pauls could come up with. You would reduce: the Border Patrol by 25% making our borders more porous for drug cartel, terrorist and undocumented aliens to cross, the CIA by 25% so our intel on those terrorists would be very limited, reduce the DEA by 25% so those drug cartels could ply their trade more easily across our borders, the FBI by 25% so the worst of the criminals would have the streets more to themselves, the US Marshall Service by 25% so fugitives and terrorists on planes would have an easier time, the armed services by 25% so that America is that more vulnerable to attacks by the terrorists created by Bush's war of choice in Iraq, the fedewral inspectors who are already short-handed thank to pro-corporate administrations so that our deteriorating infrastructure cannot be watched, or the food industry or the pharmaceutical companies. The sequester is already cutting services but like the TSA, when it comes to making things inconvenient for the teapublicans in Congress they will restore those funds and to hell with the rest of us. The teapublicans were voted in on the promise that they knew how to create jobs but it has been 30 months since the 2010 elections and not one bill that would produce not eliminate jobs but there have been 37 votes to repeal America's healthcare. There are still 12 million Americans out of work (and you would want to put mo

Beverly M.
Past Member 4 years ago

It amazes me how much time and money Congress wastes.