The House is set to pass a trillion dollar spending bill. Sources say we can expect the bill to be posted online sometime close to midnight tonight. I have no doubt that the bill will include all kinds of hidden earmarks and spending gimmicks. But the clever bill writers will make these hard to find. This is why it is so important that the public and Members of Congress have a chance to read the bill before it comes to the House floor. In the much ballyhooed Pledge to Nowhere, the House promised to post all bills online for three days prior to consideration.
‘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 from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.”
Jo Maney of House Rules Committee clarified that three days does not mean 72 hours. According to my math, 3 x 24 = 72. But thanks for the clarification. OK, so maybe the rule doesn’t specifically say 72 hours, even though that is what everyone understood it to say — everyone including the Speaker of the House. Here is Speaker Boehner himself promising “a 72 hour review period for all major bills”
Can we all stipulate that a trillion dollar appropriations bill would be a “major bill?” Can we also stipulate that the appropriations bill has not been posted yet, and that nobody outside the senior appropriators and maybe a few in Leadership has any idea what is in it?So if the bill is posted online at 11:59 tonight, can we expect Speaker Boehner to keep his promise and give the public until 11:59 Thursday night to read it, prior to bringing it to the floor of the House? The big spenders understand that, like dead fish, the longer these bills sit in the sun, the more they stink. This is why they have the bill locked in a file cabinet somewhere and will keep it there until the very last minute in hopes that the public will not discover the shenanigans until the bill is already signed into law.Hopefully the Speaker will keep his word, and this bill will not come to the House floor until Friday morning. If they try to rush it through before that, conservatives should oppose the rule.