Reading the Bill Is Important

During this Congress, Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team seem to have forgotten the importance of following the proper legislative process so that the final product is a thoughtful and successful bill.  By refusing to follow regular order, the Speaker has crammed one bill after another across the House floor, forcing votes on legislation before most members have even had an opportunity to read it.  For example, members of Congress were given less than a day to read the cap-and-trade legislation, a bill that weighs in at more than 1500 pages and would impose an almost-billion dollar tax increase on the American people.


The failure to wisely craft legislation has resulted in the kind of wasteful, untargeted legislation we saw with this year’s stimulus package.  Rather than drafting an effective stimulus that would benefit all Americans quickly and efficiently, the Speaker pushed a $787 billion spending package filled with wasteful pet projects, many of which have yet to be implemented more than eight months after it passed.


For this reason, I have joined all of my fellow Oklahoma colleagues in the House to support H.Res. 554, a bipartisan resolution that would require legislation and conference reports be available on the Internet for 72 hours prior to being considered by the House.  This will allow the American people as well as members of Congress plenty of time to read and review legislation prior to any vote on the matter.  


So far, this resolution has garnered massive bipartisan support.  It has 187 cosponsors and a discharge petition has been introduced.  A discharge petition would, in essence, discharge the bill from committee and allow an up or down vote on the House floor.  A simple majority – 218 signatures – of members is needed for the discharge petition to be successful and so far it has 182 signors.


The American people deserve the opportunity to review legislation and express their opinions on it prior to a vote in Congress and this resolution would guarantee them that opportunity.  I am pleased to join my fellow Oklahomans in support of this resolution and I encourage all members to support this measure.


Frank Lucas represents Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.