Republicans Break Pledge to Ensure Lawmakers Have Time to Review Major Bills
By Jerry A. Kane
Last year Minority Leader John Boehner and the Republicans were spitting mad at Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat-controlled House for passing bills without giving House members and the American people time to read them.
“Neither members of Congress or the public were given time to read the trillion-dollar stimulus before it passed. Nobody read the cap-and-trade bill. Nobody read the budget. And yet Democrats approved them anyway. Now this is no way to run Congress.”—John Boehner (R-OH)
Republicans argued that Americans should be allowed to know the contents of major bills before they are brought to a vote in the House, and they drew up the Pledge to America promising to do just that:
“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. No more hiding legislative language … Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.”—the Pledge to America
“Tammy Faye” Boehner echoed the promise saying that “Every major bill should be posted online and publicly available for at least 72 hours.”
But that was then, and now it turns out that Boehner and House Republicans rushed Harry Reid’s hastily-written “crap sandwich” bill to the floor without allowing a legislative committee to review it or giving House members and the public the promised 72 hours/three days to read it.
“Americans have lost trust with their government, which has too often ignored the will of the people in favor of party loyalty and a desire to pass partisan bills at any cost. Backroom deals, phantom amendments, and bills that go unread before being forced through Congress have become business as usual. … Americans are demanding change in the way Congress works, and we are fighting to bring much-needed sunlight to the process and give the American people a greater voice in their Congress.”—Pledge to America
What is also noteworthy is that the House Republican Conference’s Web site has added language to the promise, which now reads “A Three Day Waiting Period on all Non-Emergency Legislation.” The words “non-emergency” or “emergency” were not included in the original Pledge to America.
“Clover asked Benjamin to read her the Sixth Commandment, and when Benjamin, as usual, said that he refused to meddle in such matters, she fetched Muriel. Muriel read the Commandment for her. It ran: ‘No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.’ Somehow or other, the last two words had slipped out of the animals’ memory. But they saw now that the Commandment had not been violated …”— George Orwell, Animal Farm
For more on the story, see Debt-Limit Vote Breaks GOP Pledge to Post Bills Online for 3 Days Before Vote.