Did anyone notice how the CPSIA Amendment (HR 2715) went to the House floor in the middle of the night on a Sunday after closed door horse trading out of the public eye, and was voted on early the next day designated as a "noncontroversial bill" (Monday, August 1). The amendment didn't go through a mark-up hearing and was only published a few hours before the vote. The law includes some surprises, too, as one might expect on a bill emerging from a smoke-filled room. Naturally, the Senate considered it and put it up for a voice vote in even less time.
How many Members of Congress bothered to read the bill before voting on it? How many Members of the responsible House and Senate committees read it before voting on it? Your guess is as good as mine.
You may recall that the Republican Party published "A Pledge to America" in 2010 ahead of the Medterm elections, with the nifty subtitle "A new governing agenda built on the Priorities of Our Nation, the Principles We Stand for & America's Founding Values". Impressive. The Pledge includes a section starting on page 33 called "A Plan to Reform Congress and Restore Trust". Restore trust - I am all for that!!
On page 35 of this document, the Republicans make the following "promise":
"Read the Bill We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives. No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on." [Emphasis added]
Correction: They'll do all that stuff unless they don't. And in the case of the CPSIA Amendment, well, come on, don't be such a rule follower . . . .