New Repeal Effort Gathers Strength Into Category 5 Storm

Threatening storm

Weary lawmakers in the Senate, still bruised and battered from previous repeal and replace bills that swept through the chamber, are gearing up for yet another potential direct hit as the Cassidy-Graham bill strengthens into a Category 5 bill.

“We’re already rationing our time and energy to get things done after dealing with the previous three bills—‘repeal-and-replace,’ ‘partial repeal,’ and ‘skinny repeal,'” says Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose no vote on the previous measures has been credited as a key to the chamber’s recovery after the unusually heavy repeal-and-replace season.

Storm preparation

Collins said the Senate was just starting to make progress on other priorities like tax reform after devoting weeks to cleaning up after the previous bills, but that progress could be upended if, as predicted, Cassidy-Graham hits the chamber as a Category 5 bill. “Some of my colleagues need to stop denying that we bear some responsibility for the frequency and severity of these legislative storms that we’re seeing,” she says. “The time for the denial to stop is now. Our ability to respond to these crises is already compromised by the deficits in time and energy that we’re running.”

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Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), another “no” vote that helped protect the chamber against the previous bills, said the succession of catastrophic bills that have formed in just the last six weeks should be all the evidence that’s needed that the changes in norms and behaviors in Congress are real and not the fake news that some of her colleagues are calling it. “This is our fourth Category 5 repeal-and-replace legislation in just the past two months,” she says. “Even if you question what’s causing this, the truth is something’s happening and we must deal with the reality before us.”

Murkowski didn’t say whether she would oppose Cassidy-Graham should it make landfall as a Category 5 bill, but she made clear she would have a hard time voting yes without sufficient information on what its affect could be. “Unless we have a credible estimate of how much damage it would cause—would 22 million lose their insurance if there’s a direct hit?—I just can’t see how I can vote for it.”

Another big question mark is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose dramatic last-minute vote is credited with protecting the chamber from the last bill. “All eyes will be on the Maverick of the Senate to see what he does,” says a legislative aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “No single legislator can block a bill this powerful by himself, but if anyone can stand up to the power of a Category 5 behemoth, it’s this fighter.”

This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: pd and cc. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.

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