We Really Live In A Weird World

House Majority Leader laughs at the idea legislators would actually read the bills they vote on:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the health-care reform bill now pending in Congress would garner very few votes if lawmakers actually had to read the entire bill before voting on it.

"If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn't read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes," Hoyer told CNSNews.com at his regular weekly news conference.

Hoyer was responding to a question from CNSNews.com on whether he supported a pledge that asks members of the Congress to read the entire bill before voting on it and also make the full text of the bill available to the public for 72 hours before a vote.

In fact, Hoyer found the idea of the pledge humorous, laughing as he responded to the question. "I'm laughing because a) I don't know how long this bill is going to be, but it's going to be a very long bill," he said.

  • Link

    Asking our representatives to read may be too much. But we could insist that final bills be made available for 72 hours on thomas.gov, the official site for Congress. We could also insist on redlines from prior versions so we could ask why changes were made.

    The Energy bill started as HR 2454 on May 15, but Waxman slipped in HR 2998 on June 23, but then went back to HR 2454 on the last day. This was a purposeful head fake. The next to last 300 page addition wasn't posted -- I got it from an alternative source.

    The final version -- which had another 300 pages that no one but Waxman and the lobbyists saw -- wasn't on thomas.gov for at least several days. It's there now under HR 2454 version #3 -- officially it's called "Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House" I kid you not.

    As you may know, during the voting Boehner and the Republicans couldn't get a straight answer whether there was even a single physical copy of the final bill in the building.

  • Bob Smith

    If they haven't read the bill, how do they know that the bill they voted on is the same as the bill actually entered into the Federal Register as final law?

  • jr in WV

    the ... bill now pending in Congress would garner very few votes if lawmakers actually had to read the entire bill before voting on it.

    A great start leading to:

    1. fewer bills passed
    2. bills being reduced in complexity and detail to really address broad policy at the national level, and not thousands of carve outs for special interests.

    Require them to be read in to the record- that should reduce the volume of junk our nanny state produces.

  • Jeff

    I'm willing to support almost anyone running for office, if they ran on a platform of eliminating two laws for every one they pass...

  • Ariel

    Suppose you were an idiot. And now suppose you were a Representative in Congress. But I repeat myself.
    (A slight paraphrase of one of our great satirists, Twain. I imagine Will Rogers would have agreed.)

  • Don't get me wrong, I'm opposed to this (and almost all other) legislation. However, if 1500 page bills are considered acceptable, how can an elected representative possibly process them without heavily leaning on assistants?