“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.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.” 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.
Crafting Health Bill in Secret Necessary to Keep Cheering People From Delaying Passage, McConnell Says
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says it’s necessary for Republicans to write their bill to replace Obamacare in secret because having millions of people cheering them on while they hammer out the details would unnecessarily slow the legislative process, an injustice to the 23 million Americans waiting impatiently to lose their health insurance. “We owe it to all of the struggling Americans who stand to lose their coverage to move as quickly as we can,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol today. McConnell said many additional people will see their premiums go up and their level of coverage go down, so it’s understandable that lawmakers don’t want to take any longer than is absolutely necessary to pass the bill. “We still have to reconcile our bill with the House bill, so we’re champing at the bit to get our bill out there,” McConnell said. More.
Republican lawmakers in the United States Congress say they’re flabbergasted they couldn’t pull out a win yesterday by passing a bill that no one wanted and that would make the lives of Americans worse. “Who would have thought that a bill that strips health insurance away from 24 million people, raises the premiums for everyone else, and allows insurance companies to pay for less care couldn’t generate enough votes to pass?” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said last night after pulling the plug on his signature health care reform bill. Ryan said he’s stunned that his fellow Republicans didn’t want to commit political suicide by making the lives of their constituents worse by publicly voting “yea” for his bill, called the American Health Care Act. More.
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) in an NPR interview this morning refused to say whether everyone in the United States is entitled to eat food, drink water, occupy space, and breathe air. “People are given bootstraps for a reason,” Smith told NPR’s Scott Simon in an interview about federal budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration. “If we’re not willing to pull ourselves up by them, why do we have them? Why do we have these bootstraps?” “Not everyone is born with bootstraps,” Simon said. “We have people who are born into poverty who don’t get adequate nutrition, don’t have heat in the winter . . . .” “But they have bootstraps,” said Smith, “because God wants us to pull ourselves up by them. Government isn’t a shoe store for poor people.” More.
The images of fake destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma throughout the Caribbean are impresssive for their detailed made-upness and carefully crafted untruthfulness, conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh said today. He added that the misleadingness that the fake news media has employed to further their agenda of duping the public ought to win them a medal for best fabrications of reality. “Someone went the extra mile to pretend Barbudos no longer exists as a functioning island of 1,600 people,” Limbaugh said on his show, which attracts millions of listeners each week. “How much did leftists propagandists spend to make us believe St. Martins was crushed under hurricane winds of 185 miles per hour? And they get the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to pretend to stay in a stairwell with 500 other people to escape the storm. That was a brilliant act of fiction. I wonder how many Hollywood special effects artists were able to buy a new BMW for their work making us believe Miami is going to be the next target of this exaggerated storm. More.
Vice President Mike Pence blames “fake news” on the rumor circulating in the media that he suggested to President Donald Trump that his TV ratings would go up if he rode out Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm with 185 miles-per-hour winds, at Trump’s estate in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago. “I never recommended Mar-A-Lago to the President nor did I suggest or even hint at Mar-a-Lago as a safe and appropriate place from which to monitor and provide leadership during the storm known as Hurricane Irma,” Pence said in a statement released this morning. Good vantage point[/caption]The Pence statement went on to accuse news organizations with “shoddy fact-checking” and “outright lies” in attributing the Mar-a-Lago suggestion to him. “If the news media wants to be a source of information worthy of the American people’s trust, it should improve its news gathering and fact checking operations so that the information it provides to the citizens of this country is factual and accurate.” More.
Retailers across the United States and even in Europe and Asia say they can’t keep their new line of Melania “First Responder” Stiletto Boots in stock as women strive to be the first among their friends and coworkers to sport the rugged-yet-sexy boots from hot designer Peter Cremlin. “Right now we’re just trying to fill orders on an emergency basis as fast as we can and we just ask our customers to be patient as we ride out this storm of demand,” says Stephen Caine, Saks Fifth Avenue’s general manager for merchandise. “We are in contact with our suppliers around the world to get these orders filled as quickly and as efficiently as possible.” The boots, which retail for between $999 and $1,499 in stores throughout the United States, have generated some controversy as critics say they exploit the devastation in the Texas Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Harvey. More.
In a man-bites-dog announcement, President Donald Trump heaped praise on news outlets for sending camera crews and reporters to cover his photo op in Corpus Christi even as devastating floods in Houston continued to tax their resources. “Here’s one for the fake news media,” said Trump in his first remarks since he returned to Washington. “They’re still terrible people, dishonest and disgusting. But I appreciate the effort they made to record my photo op in Texas. I waved the Texas flag and they got that. That was good. Strong ratings. Super ratings. The best, actually. I heard that.” Trump said he was told by aides that many news organizations, including NBC and ABC, were stretched thin, since they had camera crews on the ground in Houston and other parts of the Gulf Coast. But they managed to have crews available when Trump and the First Lady landed to show their support for federal officials and others who were coordinating disaster response efforts. More.
Houston mega church pastor Joel Osteen, after taking criticism for his slow response to displaced Hurricane Harvey victims, announced he’s opening up his 18,000-seat church to all who need it if they leave their wet boots outside and try to find something dry to wear. “God asked us to put more than $20 million in TV broadcasting equipment in His church and we really can’t get that wet,” said Osteen, who has made millions proselytizing what’s known as the prosperity gospel—the belief that God will reward you with monetary success if you seed His churches with donations. The more you seed the church, the richer you stand to become. Osteen said that criticism leveled at him for not opening the doors of his church right away are unfair because he needed the extra time to put mats down to protect the floor, which cost $3 million. More.
Houston mega-church pastor Joel Osteen says he would have been happy to open his 18,000-seat church to victims of Hurricane Harvey but city officials never said they needed his space and God didn’t speak to him about it. “When God told me to pray for the souls of people who seed my church with money, of course I obeyed His Word and did so,” says Osteen, who has been criticized for not inviting flood-stranded people into his arena-sized church. “So I was expecting God to share His Word about providing comfort to the people of Houston, many of whom have been living in wet clothes for three days.” Osteen says he “thought regularly” about the human tragedy he saw unfolding around him as flood waters reached five feet in some areas and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. “Their plight touched my heart,” he said. “It didn’t matter what I was doing— putting gel in my hair or deep-cleaning my face. I hurt for the people of this city. I knew there was despair in our midst.” More.
HOUSTON, Sept. 30, 2017—Mayor Sylvester Turner says officials have done everything they can to prevent the president of the United States and his wife from arriving in this flood-ravaged city but in the end they were not successful. “Let me just say that this catastrophe is not a reflection on the hard work and dedication of the people of this city,” said Turner, a former state legislator who took office in January. “We made phone calls to the White House pleading for the president not to come. We said we had no place for him and his wife to stay. The roads are not passable. Food is scarce. People are traumatzed. Nothing we said made a difference.” Turner said it’s too soon to know how many people remain trapped in homes and cars, but he fears the number is in the thousands, which makes it imperative that the president not stay long. “We can’t be diverting resoures so the president can wave a Texas flag,” he said. “We need to get him back on his plane and back to Washington as soon as possible.” More.
President Donald Trump in a series of early-morning tweets blamed lax immigration laws for opening the door to Hurricane Harvey, possibly the most destructive natural disaster to hit the United States in a generation. “A country that can’t secure its borders invites menaces like Harvey,” the president said in his first tweet, sent at 4:59 a.m., Monday. “We need walls, high walls, not just on Mexican border but around ALL country’s vulnerable borders.” Trump also took a stab at Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination last year, saying Cruz’s Cuban background means he “cares more about protecting Castro’s island than his own state. #KennedyAssassination!” Experts appeared on news shows to dispute the president’s assertions. “Walls don’t keep out hurricanes and neither do immigration laws, no matter how strong,” Peter Austin, an immigration law specialist at Harvard University, said on ABC News. More.