UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 13, 2009

DON'T ASK, DON'T READ

Paul Bedard, US News - We're receiving E-mails from Capitol Hill staffers expressing frustration that they can't get a copy of the stimulus bill agreed to last night at a price of $789 billion. What's more, staffers are complaining about who does have a copy: K Street lobbyists. E-mails one key Democratic staffer: "K Street has the bill, or chunks of it, already, and the congressional offices don't. So, the Hill is getting calls from the press (because it's leaking out) asking us to confirm or talk about what we know-but we can't do that because we haven't seen the bill. Anyway, peeps up here are sort of a combo of confused and like, 'Is this really happening?'" Reporters pressing for details, meanwhile, are getting different numbers from different offices, especially when seeking the details of specific programs.

Worse, there seem to be several different versions of what was agreed upon, with some officials circulating older versions of the package that seems to still be developing. Leadership aides said that it will work out later today and promised that lawmakers will get time to review the bill before Friday's vote.

CNS - Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) predicted on Thursday that none of his Senate colleagues would "have the chance" to read the entire final version of the $790-billion stimulus bill before the bill comes up for a final vote in Congress. . . The first PDF was 424 pages long and the second PDF was 575 pages long, making the total bill 999 pages long. The House is expected to vote on this 999-page bill Friday, and the Senate either later Friday or Saturday.

Of the several senators that CNSNews.com interviewed on Thursday, only Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) claimed to have read the entire bill--and he was speaking of the preliminary version that had been approved by the Senate, not the final 999-page version that the House-Senate conference committee was still haggling over on Thursday afternoon.

UPDATE: The bill was finally made available about 11 pm Thursday night about ten hours before the scheduled consideration. You would have to stay up all night and read 100 pages an hour to get through it in time.


3 Comments:

Anonymous robbie said...

I wonder if Republicans were this concerned when the Patriot Act was rammed through Congress in even less time. Somehow I think they'd sing a different tune if congressmembers declared their intent to read the whole thing before they voted on it. But, hey, it was just legislation toying with the Constitution...no big dealio!

I'm not defending this practice, but let's face it: very few members of congress read the legislation they're voting on. Takes too much time out of campaigning.

February 13, 2009 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An organization called DownsizeDC has been pushing a "read the bills act" mandating congresspersons read the crap before they vote. You don't have to agree with them on gun control to support that (they're against it). I'll note in passing that our new prez has already reneged several times on his promise to post bills on the internet five days before a vote.
Oh, and the read the bills act would prohibit those last minute riders on unrelated bills. Feinstein is trying to slip through internet censorship on the bailout bill.

February 14, 2009 9:18 AM  
Anonymous anonymous again said...

Sorry, Obama's promise was to post bills online five days before signing them. He has already ignored that promise several times though.

February 14, 2009 2:36 PM  

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