That Congress doesn’t work to serve our best interest is not news. Major legislation, including the $787 billion “stimulus” porker and the cap-and-trade energy tax legislation are essentially written by Democrats in leadership positions and then popped onto the floor for quick votes. As a result, almost nobody knows what’s in them until after the deed is done.
Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrat Brian Baird of Washington State and Republican John Culberson of Texas, have introduced a resolution to require non-emergency legislation to be posted on the Internet 72 hours in advance of a floor vote. A number of good-government interest groups, including Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based organization created in 2006 to promote transparency in government, are pushing the effort. A conservative group, Let Freedom Ring, is attempting to extract a promise from members of Congress that they won’t vote on health care legislation until they’ve read it.
This is a campaign every American should join. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’ll give members 48 hours to read bills. Arcane legislation that hasn’t been fully aired in committee hearings requires more. Pelosi knows, however, that if voters know what’s in crammed-down, railroad-through legislation that opposition will develop.
Three days is hardly any time to examine hugely consequential legislation. But if it is made available to the nation on the Internet 72 hours in advance of the vote, an army of individual experts will find and signal its sweetheart provisions as well as its flaws.
Ah, now we see. The last thing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want is transparency.