As Congress lurches closer to a decision on an enormous overhaul of the American health care system, pressure is mounting on legislative leaders to make the final bill available online for citizens to read before a vote.
Lawmakers were given just hours to examine the $789 billion stimulus plan, sweeping climate-change legislation and a $700 billion bailout package before final votes.
While most Americans normally ignore parliamentary detail, with health care looming, voters are suddenly paying attention. The Senate is expected to vote on a health bill in the weeks to come, representing months of work and stretching to hundreds of pages. And as of now, there is no assurance that members of the public, or even the senators themselves, will be given the chance to read the legislation before a vote.
"The American people are now suspicious of not only the lawmakers, but the process they hide behind to do their work," said Michael Franc, president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Nearly every Republican has signed on, but the Democratic leadership is unwilling to cede control over when bills are brought to the floor for votes and are discouraging their rank and file from signing the petition. Senate Democrats voted down a similar measure last week for the health care bill.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I wonder why they would be against this...since they are the party of transparency.