Here's how badly Republicans want to pass a terrible health care bill

Republicans are planning to ram a bill through Congress in record time

By Matthew Rozsa
September 21, 2017 11:59AM (UTC)
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(AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The new Obamacare repeal-and-replace law being pushed by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana has an ignominious distinction: If passed, it would have a quicker turnaround time than 96 percent of all the legislation turned into law since 1977.

This is in spite of the fact that very little is understood about how the bill would impact millions of Americans.


Of the nearly 12,000 laws that were passed by Congress since 1977, roughly four percent of them did so less than ten days after being introduced, according to CNN. The average time for a bill to go from being introduced to becoming effective law has been 222 days, or just under eight months.

One of the factors motivating Republicans to try to make this an exception is that they fear political consequences from their conservative base if they don't act on Obamacare.

"You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered," explained Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa in a conference call on Wednesday to reporters. "But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill."


He added, however, that he believes the bill is "one or two votes short and I don’t see those other one or two votes coming. I hope I’m wrong."

The Graham-Cassidy bill has a very convoluted path toward becoming law, at least in its current form. If it is passed by the Senate before Sept. 30, it would only need 50 votes to do so instead of a filibuster-proof 60 votes. At that point, the House of Representatives will need to pass the bill in its exact current form before sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

If the Senate fails to pass their bill before Sept. 30, however, or if the House sends the bill back to the Senate for revisions, they will no longer be able to force it through with only 50 votes.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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