A Novel Idea: Give Congress a Chance to Read Legislation Before Voting On It
1:37 PM, Sep 23, 2009 • By GARY ANDRES
Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised the most "honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history." Shouldn't an institution committed to those lofty ideals give its members the chance to read legislation before voting on it?
We might find out the answer soon.
A bipartisan effort is underway to force a vote on a resolution (H.Res. 554) requiring the House to give members 72-hours to review legislation before casting a final vote. Speaker Pelosi has not allowed the measure to come to the floor and a bipartisan group of lawmakers (Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Brian Baird, D-Wash.), are trying to get enough signatures on a discharge petition to force and up or down vote on the measure.
When Congress acts without reading legislation, surprises often turn up later. House Republican Leader John Boehner said this today about the 72-hour bill:
Discharging a committee is rare. Doing so requires gathering 218 congressional signatures. And signing such a petition is considered a hostile act against the majority party leadership. So the prospects for H.Res. 554 -- the read before you vote measure -- are bleak.
Too bad. Seems like the most open and ethical Congress in history might want to do something this historic.