States News Service: Congressman Baird Moves to Strengthen Existing House Rules (6/21/07)

Rep. Brian N. Baird, D-Wash. (3rd CD), issued the following press release:

As a constant advocate for a transparent and open Congress, Rep. Brian Baird (WA-03) today re-introduced legislation with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), to ensure that members have adequate time to review and read legislation before being brought up for a vote.

“Every member of Congress, regardless of what party they belong to or who’s in the majority, has the right and responsibility to review and read legislation before casting a vote,” said Congressman Baird. “Furthermore, every member of the public and press should have the right to review and read legislation before it’s voted on. This is not a partisan issue; it’s good government.”

H.Res.504 or the “72 Hour Bill,” would require that all bills and conference reports be made available to members of Congress and the general public for 72 hours online before it can be brought to the House floor for a vote; repeals the “last six days” provision in current House Rules, which provides that the opportunity to read conference reports is automatically waived in the last six days of a congressional session; and, protects the exceptions to the current “three day rule,” including declarations of war or national emergencies.

“In past Congresses, the “three day rule” has been waived on a number of extremely important, complicated and costly provisions,” continued Baird. “The circumstances have improved under Democratic Leadership in this congressional session, but we can still do more to ensure that bills are read and understood.”