Senate immigration deal text not available

By Rafael DeGennaro, May 18, 2007 – 1:38pm.

For those who thought electing a Democratic Senate majority would completely solve the problem of lack of adequate time to read bills, the absent immigration deal text is a bad omen. The text is not available Friday even though floor debate will begin early next week.

On Thur., May 17, senators held a press conference to announce the deal. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) said, “Language will be available, we’re hopeful, by mid- or late afternoon or first thing in the morning. We had set that so Friday, so people will be able to go on over that, and we start in on Monday.” But Friday, May 18 at 11 AM, Kennedy’s deputy communications director told me that the text would not be introduced until Monday, and would not be available before then.

This is a complex topic, but that is no excuse for beginning Senate floor debate on major legislation without giving the public (or even senators) time to read the bill text properly.