It has become a truism that House Republicans have voted dozens and dozens of times -- at least 50 in all -- to repeal Obamacare. "They have been obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act," President Obama told a Democratic National Committee meeting in Washington last month. "You know what they say: 50th time is the charm. Maybe when you hit your 50th repeal vote, you will win a prize. Maybe if you buy 50 repeal votes, you get one free. We get it."
For more than a year, Democrats and their advocates in the press have been ridiculing the GOP's anti-Obamacare efforts. "The House Republicans have voted more than 30 times to repeal Obamacare," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in March 2013. "The House has wasted weeks voting more than 40 times to repeal Obamacare," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in October of last year. "If at first you don't succeed, try 50 times -- Republicans [are] holding a 50th vote to repeal Obamacare," MSNBC's Al Sharpton said last week. Many others have said similar things.
The only problem is, the truism isn't true. The House has actually voted to repeal Obamacare in its entirety six times. Certainly Democrats think that is six too many. But it is not 50, or even close to 50. The rest of the votes -- there have actually been 54 so far -- were votes that ranged from defunding measures that would have crippled Obamacare to delaying measures that would have put off some of the very same provisions in the law that President Obama has delayed unilaterally, to measures fixing portions of the law that passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support and were signed by the president.
The basic story is that House Republicans have voted for repeal at a few key moments since Obamacare was signed into law, and also as part of the yearly budget process. "It's six times if you count the budget," says one House GOP source in an email. "First time was when we first took the House majority, once after the Supreme Court decision, and once this Congress. And then the budget ever year."