|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 19, 2009 | PERMALINK |
CONTACT: Michael Steel, Antonia Ferrier, Kevin Smith - (202) 225-4000
|House GOP Launches Congressional Transparency Initiative |
GOP Leader: “The American people are fed up with Congress tucking special-interest provisions into bills behind closed doors, secretly changing bills without a vote, and passing bills no one has read."
| WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republicans today launched a new effort to change the way Congress works, calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to schedule an immediate vote on five common-sense reforms that will bring greater transparency to the legislative process and make Congress more open and accountable to the people it serves. The House GOP congressional transparency initiative includes “read the bill” reform that would ensure all bills are posted online at least 72 hours before coming to a vote, a ban on “phantom amendments” being added to bills in secret after they pass committee, a resolution requiring the upcoming House-Senate health care negotiations to be open to the public, and other critical reforms. |
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“The American people are fed up with Congress tucking special-interest provisions into bills behind closed doors, secretly changing bills without a vote, and passing bills no one has read,” House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said. “This has happened for far too long, but never before has the need for reform been more apparent than in the past year under Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic majority. Americans are demanding change in the way Congress works. House Republicans are proposing a series of common-sense reforms to bring much-needed sunlight to the process by which bills become laws.”
Throughout the year, Washington Democrats have passed expensive and hugely consequential bills without any meaningful scrutiny, including a 1,073-page trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ that was released at 10 p.m. the night before the vote, and a 1,200-page national energy tax bill that grew by 300 pages at 3 a.m. the morning of the vote. Earlier this month, Democrats made substantive changes to Speaker Pelosi’s 2,032-page government takeover of health care in the dark of night.
The GOP congressional transparency initiative focuses on making common-sense changes to the legislative process by utilizing the Internet and other tools to give the American people better access to the legislative process as it unfolds. House Republicans are also unveiling a new website, http://gopleader.gov/readthebill, to provide the American people with a step-by-step blueprint for how these reforms – which are listed below – would be implemented. The website – which utilizes the numbers “24-48-72” as shorthand for some of the key reforms in the initiative – includes a newly released web video featuring Boehner talking just steps from the old House chamber about the need for sunlight and transparency.
“As we continue to uncover waste and fraud in the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus,’ the American people are seeing why it is so critical that Congress apply the maximum amount of scrutiny to each and every bill,” Boehner added. “Speaker Pelosi should immediately bring these transparency initiatives to the floor for up-or-down votes. I want to thank all House Republicans, especially the authors of these reforms, for being leaders on this critical issue and working to ensure the American people have a Congress that is open and accountable to the people it serves.”
Boehner has also previously discussed the transparency initiative in op-eds for the Dallas Morning News and BigGovernment.com.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS LAUNCH CONGRESSIONAL TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE:
READ THE BILL. Put all bills online for at least 72 hours before they come to a vote. (H.Res. 554, Reps. John Culberson, R-TX & Brian Baird, D-WA; Discharge Petition by Rep. Greg Walden, R-OR)
BAN “PHANTOM AMENDMENTS.” Require committees to post bill text online within 24 hours of adoption. (H.Res. 835, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-KS)
SHOW THE VOTES. Post Members’ committee votes online within 48 hours. (H.Res. 874, Rep. Dave Reichert, R-WA)
OPEN HEALTH CARE NEGOTIATIONS TO THE PUBLIC. Prevent secret deals behind closed doors and ensure a full and open debate. (H.Res. 847, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL)
BRING SUNLIGHT TO THE RULES COMMITTEE. Allow cameras in the secretive Rules Committee, which decides which bills come to a vote. (H.Res. 869, Rep. Charlie Dent, R-PA)