Defense & intl affairs

Council for a Livable World endorses 72 Online rule

Council for a Livable World endorsed the following statement in March 2006:

“We support the 72 Online rule to require generally that legislation and conference reports be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before floor consideration in Congress.”

Note: Endorsers of the 72 Online concept do not necessarily support or oppose any legislation, nor agree with the views of ReadtheBill.org or other endorsers on specific legislation or other matters.

What they say

“Endorsement of the 72 Online rule is a no-brainer for this organization. This is a modest, much-needed and practical step to restore deliberation to the legislative process and allow citizen organizations like ours to participate more effectively. It has been annoying and made our work more difficult that both the Senate and House act without giving the public — or Members of Congress — time to see what they are voting on.”

Terms:

Arms Control groups endorse 72 Online rule

The following organizations have endorsed the following statement:
“We support the 72 Online rule to require generally that legislation and conference reports be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before floor consideration in Congress.”

Note: Endorsers of the 72 Online concept do not necessarily support or oppose any legislation, nor agree with the views of ReadtheBill.org or other endorsers on specific legislation or other matters.

Selected endorsing organizations include:
Council for a Livable World

National, regional and local organizations and businesses are invited to endorse the 72 Online rule.
About this list. Add your organization.

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NYT editorial: Laws passed in dead of night strike at heart of democracy

By Rafael DeGennaro, February 19, 2007 – 2:47pm.

The New York Times has an excellent editorial Feb. 19. It criticizes Congress and the President for a provision inserted into the defense bill in 2006 that makes martial law easier. Drawing the larger lesson, the editorial says, “A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night.”

This is part of a pattern of the defense authorization bill receiving little scrutiny.

New York Times
Making Martial Law Easier (editorial)
Feb. 19, 2007

A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.

[…]

Changes of this magnitude should be made only after a thorough public airing. But these new presidential powers were slipped into the law without hearings or public debate. The president made no mention of the changes when he signed the measure, and neither the White House nor Congress consulted in advance with the nation’s governors.

Speaker Pelosi’s office buries Iraq resolution text

By Rafael DeGennaro, February 12, 2007 – 11:59am.

C’mon, Speaker Pelosi’s office, you can do better than this. Mostly, just by letting the committees do their jobs. Devolution!

As of 11:00 am Monday, Feb. 12, 2007, the text of the Iraq resolution was not on the website of the House Rules Committee (confirmed with their staff by telephone). There was no mention of the text on the front page of the websites of the Democratic Leader or Whip, nor on the front page of the Speaker’s website. So, I phoned the Speaker’s office and asked if the text were available. Yes, the person said. Go to the Speaker’s website, then click on “Current Legislation”. Then click on “Iraq”. You’ll see the text of the resolution. There are three problems with this:

House Iraq surge resolution text to be released too late

By Rafael DeGennaro, February 11, 2007 – 1:19am.

The House Democratic majority will bring up on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2007 an Iraq War resolution. Congress Daily reports the text will be released on Monday morning. That is approximately 24 hours before debate begins. House Rules Committee Democratic staff said the resolution would be available on their web site when the text is released.

This isn’t good enough. What harm would have been done by releasing the text on Friday, Feb. 9?

Democrats are falling into bad habits. Sure, it’s easier to pass a bill when people have less time to read it. But then it’s tempting to pass bad bills because you know people won’t have time to read them.

H.R. 5522 — Foreign Operations Appropriations for FY2007

Summary:
MYSTERY BILL. The bill and report became available online on Mon., June 5 after 9:10 pm. Therefore, it is a mystery bill if it is considered before Thur., June 8 at 9:10 pm.

H.R. 5441 — Homeland Security Appropriations for FY2007

Summary:
MYSTERY BILL. This was a mystery bill when its consideration began May 25. The House did not finish that week and it is scheduled for passage the week of June 6-9. ReadtheBill.org still considers this a mystery bill because its consideration began before it had been available online for 72 hours.