Friday, October 16, 2009

Read the Bills Roundup


Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), one of the Democrats to sign onto an effort to require a 72-hour window for a bill to be posted online before a vote in Congress, said he might vote against a healthcare reform bill if that principle is not honored. . . .
The Washington Democrat withheld his vote last week from a defense authorization bill containing some benefits for his district because he was not given a similar window to study the law. “It’s not because I don’t care about the nation’s defense, but because we had 24 hours to read it," he told the Chronicle. "If you do care about national defense, shouldn’t you care enough to read it?”

R. Cellan in the Missoulian:

To Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus:
To be up-front, we are seniors and depend on Medicare for our health plan. But we can still read, so give us a chance to do so before you enact your health bill. We will take the time, even if you don't seem have enough time.
We all know this is all smoke and mirrors. You don't intend to let us read the bill. You don't want us to be informed. You don't want to face us. You are afraid of us.

Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, in the Waco Tribune-Herald:

Law is a most solemn product of our representative democracy. It concretizes the will of the supreme power of the state and binds all citizens to obey. The fate of nations has been shaped by wise and unwise laws.
Take the time. Our Congress must not only read these bills but let us do the same.

Colin A. Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, in the Baltimore Sun:

Amending the House rules to require the online posting of bills for representatives and the public alike to read and review would change the legislative process for the better. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not agree with the American people on this issue. Instead, she is working to stall the "Read the Bill" resolution in the House Rules Committee. If this continues, the resolution will not even be voted on.
There is one way to get around the speaker's roadblock. Rep. Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon, has filed a petition to force the speaker to schedule a vote on the resolution if it attracts 218 signatures from members of Congress. So far, 182 members have signed the petition, leaving it 36 short of reaching the House floor.

Note: this is the "72 hour" rule that we endorse because it will pave the way for the more effective "7 day" Read the Bills Act. You can send a letter to Congress to pass the 72 hour rule here. And go here to tell them to introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act.

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