CNN anchor Brianna Keilar on Friday declared that it was “not normal” for Republicans in the House of Representatives to celebrate passage of a health care bill when it has not yet cleared the Senate.
Brianna Keilar became the latest journalist to suggest that it was inappropriate or unusual for Republicans to celebrate their hard-won passage of the American Health Care Act. She questioned why Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and other GOP lawmakers trekked down to the White House after the vote.
“But you have to admit, congressman, that this is highly unusual for a bill that has not passed both chambers. Isn’t this like celebrating at halftime?”
“But you have to admit, congressman, that this is highly unusual for a bill that has not passed both chambers,” she said. “Isn’t this like celebrating at halftime?”
Yoho said it was appropriate.
“Yeah, that’s why you go into the huddle,” he said. “You go in to celebrate.”
Keilar pressed: “But this is not normal.”
Yoho said it was a “different presidency” and added that it was the sort of thing the House should do more of.
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The Republican reaction after voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act was not so different from the enthusiasm House Democrats showed after voting to pass it in 2009.
This is the way The New York Times reported the scene on that Saturday evening:
“On the House floor, Democrats exchanged high-fives and cheered wildly — and Republicans sat quietly — when the tally display showed the 218th and decisive vote, after the leadership spent countless hours in recent days wringing commitments out of House members.”
Video from the vote shows Democrats lustily counting down the seconds until voting closed and then erupting into wild cheers and clapping. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) couldn’t contain her glee as she announced, “The yays are 220, the nays are 215. The bill is passed.”
Democratic representatives did not go to the White House afterward, but then-President Barack Obama did go to the Capitol to “answer the call of history,” as the Times put it.
The Times stated that Obama made his “rare weekend appearance on Capitol Hill as part of an all-out effort to rally Democrats” to support the bill.
The bill at the time was still a long way from the president’s desk. Like the American Health Care Act now, it still had an arduous path to the Senate, negotiations in a House-Senate conference committee, and then votes in both houses on the final language. Success was far from guaranteed. Yet Democrats celebrated because passing a controversial, major piece of legislation in even one chamber is a big political accomplishment.
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There was one big difference between 2009 and 2017. In 2009, disappointed Republicans sat quiet. This week, Democrats taunted Republicans, chanting, “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye” to signify that Republicans supposedly signed their political deaths.