“Washington has a spending problem.” “We need to stop the spending.” House Republicans since they assumed power in January 2011 have continuously touted the vague, amorphous issue of “spending” as paramount.
But they never say spending on what. Which is good for them, because they’ve flushed $55 million of your taxpayer money down the drain on 37 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
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.
$55 million, as Bryce Covert and Adam Peck point out, is enough to hire 5,000 new mental health professionals, and enough to provide support for states that want to pass paid sick leave laws. The time spent on votes to repeal Obamacare account for 15 percent of total time Congress has spent in session.
While Congress wastes taxpayer dollars on problems that only exist in their fevered imaginations, the rest of us are struggling with high unemployment, stagnant wages, crumbling infrastructure, and needless cuts to everything from Head Start to cancer research. Those are things that are actually happening, and they actually affect the lives of real Americans.
Either Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, and the rest of the gang actually focus on those problems instead of wasting taxpayer money on fake problems, or they stop with this constant faux concern about “spending.” They don’t get to do both.