Record high spending bills are passing the House without any opportunity for Members of Congress and the American people to read the legislation. It is time to stop voting blind. Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) and I introduced H.Res. 554, a resolution requiring the House of Representatives to make bills and conference reports available online for 72 hours before they are considered by the House. This resolution will enhance public participation in our democracy and help restore the public trust in government by raising the level of openness, order, and discourse.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit Sunlight Foundation recently praised this resolution. Ellen Miller, executive director and co-founder of the Sunlight Foundation said, “We commend Reps. Baird and Culberson for demonstrating such strong support for increasing legislative transparency in the House. By making the core activity of the House—the consideration of legislation—more transparent, this rules change would strengthen the public’s trust in the institution, improve legislation and trim wasteful spending. When legislation is not available for lawmaker or public review, we end up with special amendments like the Stimulus Bill’s last-minute loophole that allowed AIG executives to receive retroactive bonuses at the American taxpayers’ expense. If Congress and citizens alike had 72 hours to read the Stimulus Bill online, someone would have noticed the AIG provision and fixed it before it became law.”