Byron York noted today that while "Read the Bill" legislation exists, "So far, it hasn’t passed" under a Democrat-run Congress. That would change if Republicans win a new Majority. As York writes, the GOP "Pledge to America" includes a provision for posting all bills online at least three days before a vote:
'We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives,' says the Pledge. 'No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.'
Republican leaders didn’t come up with that provision on their own. They got it by listening. 'It's the expectation of the voters,' says a GOP aide. 'Our members are routinely being asked, 'Did you read this? Did you understand what it meant?''
It wouldn’t be hard to do. Republican Rep. John Culberson and Democratic Rep. Brian Baird already have a measure pending, H.R. 554 — aka the 'Read the Bill' bill — that would require that the final language of a bill be available on the Internet for 72 hours before it is voted on.
In highlighting this and other potential Congressional reforms at the American Enterprise Institute, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said Congress "finds itself in a state of emergency. The institution does not function, does not deliberate and seems incapable of acting on the will of the people."
In fact, over the last 20 months, Democrats have routinely passed massive, sweeping pieces of legislation – the "stimulus," national energy tax, and more – within 24 hours of making them public and over the objections of the American people. Boehner also pointed to Democrats’ failure "to permit a House vote on tax cuts that are scheduled to expire in December" as another example of a broken Congress.
Congressman Paul Brown (R-GA) explains in an op-ed today that the Pledge to America would help restore "accountability and transparency" to the House of Representatives by giving lawmakers "the opportunity to read, debate and offer amendments on all legislation." Broun says flatly: "It is time to end the era of closed-door backroom deals."
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Boehner Pitches "Cut-Go" and Other Congressional Reforms (10/1/10)
Republicans Eye Reforms to Cut Spending, Make Congress More Open (9/17/10)
Boehner Wants to "Overhaul How the House Does Business" (9/1/10)
By Refusing to "Read the Bill," Democrats Are Circumventing "We the People" (8/18/10)
Desperate Democrats Forget to Name Their Latest "Stimulus" Spending Bill (8/9/10)