US Lawmakers ask for 72 hrs to Read All Legislation...
Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Wednesday announced an effort that would force Democratic leaders to give members of Congress -- and the public -- 72 hours to review legislation before a bill is brought to the floor for a vote. Previously, less than 2% of US lawmakers had actually read a bill before passing it into law.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Brian Baird, Oregon Democrat, and Republican Reps. John Culberson of Texas and Greg Walden of Oregon, would require House leaders to post all non-emergency legislation online, in its final form, three days before a vote.

The lawmakers have begun circulating a discharge petition that would force House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold a vote on their bill, which has been stuck in committee for months.

GOP lawmakers in particular have hammered Mrs. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders for rushing long, complex bills through the House.

"The American people are angry that Speaker Pelosi didn't allow the public and their elected representatives to read the trillion-dollar 'stimulus' bill or the national energy tax before they were rammed through the House," Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Wednesday. "Congress can, and must, do better."

Rushed floor votes on the stimulus bill and the cap-and-trade energy bill -- both of which totaled more than 1,000 pages -- have fueled calls from the public that lawmakers read bills before voting on them. The House resolution is supported by several public-interest groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, which point out that hasty votes can result in unintended consequences, such as the provision tucked into the stimulus bill that had the effect of authorizing executives of bailed-out insurance giant AIG to receive retroactive bonuses.

Earlier this summer, Mrs. Pelosi told a reporter she would allow a 48-hour waiting period prior to bringing health care legislation up for a vote.

The discharge petition, which requires 218 signatures to force a vote on the bill, has 98 co-sponsors. There are currently 256 Democrats and 177 Republicans in the House.


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