Anything goes: President signs bill Congress never passed

Submitted by Rafael DeGennaro on Thu, 2006-02-09 21:09.

The Washington Post reported Feb. 9, 2006 (“Glitch surfaces in Budget Measure”) that the President signed into law a bill containing a time duration that the House did not pass.

On a provision regarding Medicare reimbursements for oxygen tanks, the Senate bill specified a time frame of 13 months. When the bill was sent to the House las month, the clerk wrote “36 months.” The House then passed the bill with the “36 months” language. When the mistake was discovered, a House clerk scribbled out “36 months” and wrote in “13 months.”

The House had passed all of the bill except the number “13 months”. In another example of “anything goes in Congress” attitude, the House clerk just scribbled in the number passed by the Senate. Better would have been to pass a technical correction law after the main bill became law. This mistake may not be an example of why the 72 hours online rule is needed. But the mistake and the sloppy way it was handled is evidence of the breakdown of the regular order in Congress.