Tags: congress | reading | bills

Conservative Group: Please Read the Bills Before Voting

Monday, 06 Jul 2009 01:08 PM

By Dan Weil

Conservative interest group Let Freedom Ring is urging members of Congress to pledge to thoroughly read bills before voting on them.

In particular, the group says on its web site that it wants a promise from legislators to refrain from voting on the health care bill, likely to exceed 1,000 pages, until they have personally read it.

Let Freedom Ring wants the bill to be posted on the Internet 72 hours before the vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have said they will only give 48 hours for legislators and the public to see the bill before Congress votes.

CNSNews.com reported that many congressmen didn’t read the energy bill before voting on it last week. And in February, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said many of his colleagues wouldn’t read the fiscal stimulus package before voting on it.

“We think the American public expects their legislators to know what’s in a bill before they support it and we’re urging legislators to sign a pledge to that effect,” Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, told CNSNews.com.

Two senators and two House members have signed the pledge so far: Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.; Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; and Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan.

More will sign soon, Hanna says.

The Sunlight Foundation, which advocates government transparency, agrees with Let Freedom Ring.

"The fastest speed-readers and the most intelligent minds can't make informed decisions with that much time (two days). How can Congress?" Sunlight Foundation Engagement Director Jake Brewer said in a statement.

Speaking about the energy bill, he said, "The problem here is the bill wasn't developed in the open in a committee, so no one -- including those members of Congress not on the Energy Committee -- knows how this latest version was created."

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