Another common sense reform squelched in Congress
Posted by sanityinjection on September 23, 2009
This time, it’s a bipartisan bill that would simply require that any non-emergency legislation should have its full text published online for anyone to read for three days before a vote is taken. The idea is to give both members of the public and just as importantly, members of Congress, the opportunity to actually read bills carefully before voting on them.
You might wonder why anyone would oppose such a common sense reform. The answer is that legislative leaders have a much easier time ramming things through if nobody has a chance to read them. Not only does this tactic reduce objections from the minority party, but also defections from within the party in power. In other words, Speaker Nancy Pelosi can ask a freshman Democrat to support a bill, and that freshman is much more likely to go along if they don’t know what’s in it than if they read it and find things that would be problematic for their district. But it’s not a partisan issue – the same rules would apply regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). I commend these Congressmen as well as the 98 legislators who have signed on as co-sponsors. That’s about 1 out of every five house members, not too shabby. But the bill is stuck in committee going nowhere, and a petition to force it out is unlikely to succeed. (Some of the co-sponsors probably signed on in order to look good knowing it probably wasn’t going anywhere.)
If someone can easily discover the bill number of this legislation, please let me know, as I’d like to encourage my Congressman to support it, and I’d encourage others to do so.