Republicans' new health care plan would need to move faster than 96% of laws

Sen. Cassidy defends health bill amid backlash
Sen. Cassidy defends health bill amid backlash


    Sen. Cassidy defends health bill amid backlash


Sen. Cassidy defends health bill amid backlash 01:44

Story highlights

  • Only 4% of bills signed into law over the last four decades have taken less than 10 days from introduction to the law books
  • The Senate has until only September 30 to pass a health care reform plan under rules that bypass the 60-vote threshold

Washington (CNN)If Republicans are able to cobble together the votes for the Graham-Cassidy health care plan and pass it before September 30, it would be one speedy legislative sprint. But just how speedy?

Only 4% of bills signed into law over the last four decades have taken 10 days or fewer from introduction to becoming a law on the books, according to a CNN analysis of almost 12,000 laws passed since 1977, when this data became available.
The Senate has until only September 30 to pass a health care reform plan under rules that bypass the 60-vote threshold and allow the chamber to pass a bill with only 51 votes.
    The comparison is not perfect (which we'll explain below), but it highlights just how rare new laws move through the legislative process as swiftly as Republicans want to move their new health care bill, sweeping legislation with far-reaching implications for the economy and Americans' daily lives.
    The average bill signed into law since 1977 has taken 222 days to go from introduction as a bill in Congress to law on the books.
    President Donald Trump pushed for Senators to pass the last-ditch effort in a tweet on Tuesday morning.
    Now for the caveats and why this comparison is not perfect:
    First, it's important to note the Graham-Cassidy proposal is not technically a brand new bill, but its text would completely replace the text in the House-passed Republican bill from this spring. Remember, a bill has to pass both chambers of Congress in exactly the same form in order to be presented to the President for his signature.
    The new text has been available for about one week, though negotiations are still underway and it has not technically been placed onto the House version yet. (The bill passed by the House, which would become the vehicle for the new Graham-Cassidy plan, was introduced on March 20 -- 184 days ago.)
    Second, it's hard to predict when Graham-Cassidy could be signed into law. If it can pass through the Senate, it would still have to move through the House. That September 30 deadline applies only to the Senate's rules, so the bill could both pass the House and be signed after that date.
    But here's the important thing in terms of the speed at which Graham-Cassidy is being considered: No changes could be made in the House and Paul Ryan has said he'll move it straight to the floor for a vote. Normally, if the House and Senate disagree, the two chambers appoint a conference committee to hash out their differences before voting again.
    But if the bill is changed after that September 30 budget window closes, the Senate would have to vote again, on the House's new version, but this time with the normal 60-vote threshold. Got that?
    There is precedent for the House passing a health care reform bill it didn't like: Obamacare in 2009. Republican Sen. Scott Brown won the race to finish Sen. Edward Kennedy's term after the Democrat's death. Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority and the House, then led by Democrats, had to pass the Senate version without changing it.
    The bottom line is that Senators are planning to vote on a complete rewrite of the US health care system after officially considering it for a very few days. The House wouldn't be able to change it. So because the text of the law will be completely new and changes to the bill almost certainly can't be made after September 30, the comparison is about as close to apples-to-apples as we can get.
    Senate leaders have pressure moderate Senators like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain -- as well as conservative Rand Paul -- to back the bill. Only two Republican Senators can oppose the law if Republicans want to pass the bill without any Democratic support.
    On the House side, Speaker Paul Ryan said on Monday it was the "best, last chance to get repeal and replace done," adding he would bring the plan straight to the House floor for a vote if the Senate passes it.
    If there's any bright side to this stat for Republicans, it's that the number of bills that became law in such a short period of time has doubled in the last two decades. More than 6% of bills since 1993 were introduced and signed in less than 10 days vs. just 3% of new laws before 1993.
    Four bills already this session have become law in fewer than 10 days: Emergency aid after Hurricanes Irma and Jose, a joint resolution condemning violence in Charlottesvile, a bill Trump reluctantly signed hitting Russia with new sanctions, and bill averting a government shutdown in late April.