Rain in the House Part II

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON HOUSE ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENA

ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

PETER FERNANDEZ, Georgia, Chairman

WILLIAM ANDERSON, Missouri

HANK ALTMAN, Mississippi

ROLLAND NAPOLI, New Jersey

ALICE TORRANCE, Maryland

ALEXANDER MONITOR, Wisconsin

MONICA LAMBERT, California

WITNESSES

Mr. Jacob Aberforth PhD, Director, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

MR. FERNANDEZ. Welcome everyone. We’ve been reconvened to draft a bill that will solve the issue of the rain in the House chamber. Dr. Aberforth has been invited back to serve as our meteorological advisor.  Let’s get started. Does anyone have a suggestion for how we could overcome this problem?

[Transcriber’s note: Several minutes of awkward silence ensued.]

MS. TORRANCE. What if we erected a giant tarp? It would cover the whole House floor and the Representatives would be shielded from the rain underneath it.

MR. FERNANDEZ. Perfect! Let’s get our staffs to write that down into the standard Congressional jargon, and we’ll be done by lunch…

DR. ABERFORTH. I’m afraid that won’t work.

MR. FERNANDEZ. Why not?

DR. ABERFORTH. The water vapor escaping from the Representatives’ mouths would simply be trapped underneath the tarp, condense into a new cloud, and rain back down. In other words, you would have doubled your problem.

MR. FERNANDEZ. Fine! Any other ideas?

[Transcriber’s note: Several more minutes of silence.]

MR. MONITOR. What about umbrellas?

[Transcriber’s note: Everyone looked at Dr. Aberforth.]

DR. ABERFORTH. Yeah. Sure. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work.

MR. FERNANDEZ. Fantastic. Let’s get this thing on paper and get out of here.

. . . . .

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD

PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 112TH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MORNING-HOUR DEBATE

The House met at 10 a.m. and was called to order by THE SPEAKER.

[Transcriber’s note: The rain fell down in a sustained, heavy downpour. The Representatives sat soaked to the bone and shivering.]

THE SPEAKER. The House is called to order. We’re here today to debate H.R. 6488, A BILL TO MITIGATE AMTOSPHERIC PHENOMENON IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE USE OF INDIVIDUAL WATERPROOF CANOPY DEVICES. As stated in Article 12, Section 4, Clause 10, if and when the House of Representatives has depleted its inventories of sparrows and bees, the Keeper of the…

MS. PRUDENCE (IDAHO, I). Wait! Wait!

THE SPEAKER. The Representative from Idaho wishes to make a statement?

MS. PRUDENCE (IDAHO, I). Yes! Please! For the love of God, before you unleash a horde of venomous snakes, or salt-water crocodiles, or velociraptors!

THE SPEAKER. Don’t be silly. We don’t have velociraptors.

But go ahead.

MS. PRUDENCE (IDAHO, I). Thank you. Please. I beg you. We need to stop following these ridiculous rules! Not just for our own physical safety, but for the American people as well. Now, I don’t know what sort of awful creature The Speaker is about to unleash in the name of giving both parties an equal chance to speak, but the only thing our constituents are going to see is chaos, destruction, and stupidity of the highest order. If we truly wish to give each party a say in the legislative process, I assure you there are far more effective and civil methods of doing just that. Can’t we just flip a coin or something?

[Transcriber’s note: A hushed murmur of amazement mixed with admiration traveled through the House.]

THE SPEAKER. Wow. That is an incredible idea.

MS. PRUDENCE (IDAHO, I). Thank you.

THE SPEAKER. I suggest you submit it to the House Rules Committee for review.

MS. PRUDENCE (IDAHO, I). And what would happen then?

THE SPEAKER. Well, it’ll be punted down to some subcommittee where it’ll wait in line behind several hundred other bills. If it ever actually comes up for review, there will have to be a whole slew of hearings. Witnesses will have to be subpoenaed. Studies will have to be authored. A myriad of dissenting views will be aired. Massive alterations are inevitable. It’ll be punted back up to committee and possibly reviewed after several more months have passed. If you’re lucky, it’ll be sent back down to subcommittee, where even more changes will be made, and then make its way back up after God knows how many more hearings take place.

If it ever actually passes committee—and isn’t immediately sent right back—your bill will be placed somewhere on the docket for debate on the Floor. If it slips by the battery of procedural maneuverings that awaits it, then it might actually be held up to a vote—where it could very easily be defeated anyway.

MS. PRUDENCE (IDAHO, I). And how long would this process take?

THE SPEAKER. Several years if you’re lucky. Is the Keeper of the Honey Badgers ready?

MS. HARRISON. Yep.

THE SPEAKER. Release the honey badgers.

[Transcriber’s note: The two animals sprinted to the nearest corner of the room, clawed up the carpet, pried apart the base, and escaped beneath the floorboards before the Representatives realized what had happened.]

THE SPEAKER. Shit.

Now we have rain, wasps, and honey badgers in the chamber.

Ah well. I’m sure they’ll die off soon enough.

MS. HARRISON. Actually, that was a mating pair. You’ll have a litter of cubs in about six months. Also, they live to be up to 25 years old.

THE SPEAKER. Ugh…Fine! We’ll deal with this later. Whose birthday is it today?

MR. PROTHEROW (PENNSYLVANIA, R). It’s my birthday!

THE SPEAKER. Republicans speak first.

And Happy birthday.

MR. PROTHEROW (PENNSYLVANIA, R). Thank you!

MR. DOHERTY (OHIO, R). Thank you Mr. Speaker.

This bill is a disgrace! The Special Committee wants us to bring our own personal umbrellas into the House chamber. Well, guess where all the umbrellas are made. China! I will not have the People’s Republic of China dominate the Legislative Branch of the U.S. government! My party and I cannot possibly support this bill in its present form. Send it back, make corrections, and then we’ll see.

[Transcriber’s note: THE SPEAKER let out a long sigh.]

THE SPEAKER. Alright. H.R. 6488 will go back to committee for change.

The House is adjourned.

. . . . .

A BILL TO MITIGATE ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENON IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE USE OF INDIVIDUAL WATERPROOF CANOPY DEVICES

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON HOUSE ATMOSPHERIC PHENOMENA

ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

PETER FERNANDEZ, Georgia, Chairman

WILLIAM ANDERSON, Missouri

HANK ALTMAN, Mississippi

ROLLAND NAPOLI, New Jersey

ALICE TORRANCE, Maryland

ALEXANDER MONITOR, Wisconsin

MONICA LAMBERT, California

MR. FERNANDEZ. OK. We’re back. The Republicans didn’t like H.R. 6488 because all their umbrellas are made in China. Let’s open the debate, rewrite this bill, and send it back to the floor. I recognize Mr. Napoli.

MR. NAPOLI. The Republicans don’t like the bill because their umbrellas are made in a foreign country. It seems to me that the only logical recourse is to have the umbrellas made in the United States.

And in order to ensure that they all have a stake in this process, we can simply spread the manufacture of these things between every single congressional district in the country.

MR. FERNANDEZ. You want to build one umbrella in each of the 435 districts for each of the 435 different Representatives?

MR. NAPOLI. That’s right.

MR. ANDERSON. Won’t that be massively expensive and time consuming?

MR. FERNANDEZ. It might be economically imbecilic, but it’s politically brilliant!

Let’s redraft this bill and send it back to the floor ASAP.

. . . . .

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD

PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 112TH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MORNING-HOUR DEBATE

The House met at 10 a.m. and was called to order by THE SPEAKER.

[Transcriber’s note: The driving rain flew straight at the Representatives, obscuring their vision, stinging their faces, and forcing THE SPEAKER to shout over the din.]

THE SPEAKER. The National Zoo has refused to lend us any more animals because they say we keep losing or killing them all! Plus I want to get out of this goddamned deluge! So, I’m just going to initiate an up or down vote H.R. 6488! Voting begins now!

[Transcriber’s note: H.R. 6488 passed by a vote of 434 yeas and 1 abstention (MR. PUSH BROOM (ARIZONA, R)).]

THE SPEAKER. OK! The House is adjourned until the umbrellas have been manufactured and distributed!

. . . . .

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD

PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 112TH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MORNING-HOUR DEBATE

The House met at 10 a.m. and was called to order by THE SPEAKER.

[Transcriber’s note: The chamber was a sea of identical black umbrellas. A light, almost imperceptibly fine mist fell gently from the chamber ceiling.]

THE SPEAKER. Welcome back people. It’s been almost three months and several million dollars, but we’ve all got our umbrellas, and we can finally get to work! This is democracy in action ladies and gentlemen! This is a success! We overcame partisan differences and produced an outcome that both parties can be proud of! Congratulations everyone! Give yourselves a hand!

[Transcriber’s note: The Representatives clapped and cheered loudly as they patted each other’s backs over their accomplishment.]

THE SPEAKER. Good job everyone! Good job! Now let’s get down to the business of legislating!

[Transcriber’s note: The mist stopped falling and the rain cloud completely disappeared from the ceiling.]

THE SPEAKER. What the… hell?

[Transcriber’s note: THE SPEAKER closed his umbrella and raised the palm of his hand.]

THE SPEAKER. Mr. Fernandez! Your special committee was in charge of this issue. Why isn’t it raining anymore?

MR. FERNANDEZ (GEORGIA, D). Well, I can only speculate, but the rain cloud originally formed because we were all releasing tons of water vapor into the chamber. I guess that since we haven’t conducted any business in so long, and because we haven’t been replenishing the cloud, that it’s just dissipated away.

[Transcriber’s note: There was a brief pause before THE SPEAKER slammed his umbrella repeatedly on his podium, smashing it to pieces.]

THE SPEAKER. Screw this shit! You’re all on your own!

[Transcriber’s note: THE SPEAKER burst out of the chamber in a fury. The rest of the Representatives stayed in their seats, uncertain of what to do. Slowly, steadily, they started leave. After a few seconds, the trickle of Congresspersons leaving the room turned into a torrent. The House floor was quickly vacated. The only sounds disturbing the sudden silence were a slight humming emanating from the wasps’ nest, some scratching sounds coming from under the floorboards, and the last few keys struck by the transcriber before he left this madhouse to go home, see his children, and drink a full glass of scotch to try to forget his day.]