FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In an attempt to make sure health care reform doesn't get rammed through Congress with little debate - a group of Senate Republicans has introduced a resolution requiring all bills be made public for at least 72 hours before a vote.
Not a bad idea. Since many in Congress don't read the bills before voting, maybe somebody should.
Over in the House, a group of more than 180 - mostly Republicans - is circulating a petition also requiring all bills to be posted online for three days. They're demanding the Democratic leadership schedule a vote on this. No vote so far, although Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged to post the final health care bill online 72 hours before the last vote.
But it's not just Republicans pushing for more transparency. A group of centrist Senate Democrats sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid this week saying "every step of the process needs to be transparent" - they also asked for three days for the public to look at this stuff on the internet.
There's also an online campaign called Read the Bill along with a group called Read to Vote that's collected more than 80,000 signatures asking lawmakers to promise to read every page of every bill before voting. That'll happen...
Democratic Congressman Brian Baird of Washington put it this way, "there's a pattern here, the more important the bill, the more complicated it is, the less time we have to read it."
Some Democrats point out the same thing happened under Republican control. Maybe so... but it was President Obama, not Bush, who promised more transparency once he was running things. Remember?
Here’s my question to you: Should health care legislation be posted online for 72 hours before Congress votes on it?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Sylvia from California writes:
Let me see: Pres. Obama promised that his administration would be one of transparency. "You lie" is appropriate. It never seems to amaze me how gullible the American people are and how desperate they are to believe that Washington will be forthright and honest.
If Republican senators wanted the bill posted for people to read, there wouldn't be a problem. The reason they want the bill posted for 72 hours is to allow private insurance companies to read it and tell them whether to vote for or against it. It's the sad part of American politics; it's what's best for lobbyists, not the American public.
Sandra from North Carolina writes:
I don't know, Jack. It sounds like a good idea, but I'm worried it will be just like advertising prescription drugs. Too much information can create more confusion and misunderstandings... maybe that's what the Republicans have in mind.
Tom from North Carolina writes:
Jack, The only reason I can see not to put bills on line for 3 days is: there must be something to hide.
Dan from Louisville, Kentucky writes:
Seriously, have you ever really tried to read actual legislation, and understand it? 1,000 pages of it? I'll read it if some non-partisan entity like the CBO reads it and writes a 20 page "Executive Summary" of the bill. Most legislation, like insurance policies, are designed to prevent the average person from understanding what they mean.
Be careful how you word it, they may instead vote on the bills before they're written, arguing it was not available for posting.
Hey Jack. If these guys are so into transparency, don't you think they should all wear shirts showing where their money comes from? Like the drivers for NASCAR. Then we will know who they are speaking for.