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Families USA endorses 72 Online at Capitol Hill press conference (3/15/06)

Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA (right), joins Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) and Rafael DeGennaro, Founder & President of ReadtheBill.org (left) at the Capitol on March 15, 2006. Also speaking was Emily Skeketoff, Executive Director of the American Library Association’s Washington Office.
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Washington, DC press conference

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Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) lifts the 2004 Omnibus Appropriations bill at the U.S. Capitol on March 15, 2006. Also speaking were Rafael DeGennaro, Founder & President of ReadtheBill.org and Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the American Library Association Washington Office.

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The Olympian (Olympia, WA): H.Res. 688 a "terrrific idea" (3/7/06)

House Resolution 688 is “a terrific idea that Congress should adopt as part of a comprehensive package to regain the public’s trust in the wake of corruption allegations.”

ReadtheBill.org makes top 10 public "Honesty List" (2/17/06)

This blog commends ReadtheBill.org for taking action to fix the problem described by Rep. John Conyers in the film “Farenheit 9/11”

Investor’s Business Daily: "Make spending bills public 72 hours before" (2/3/06)

Among needed steps is “a firm policy of …making spending bills public 72 hours before final votes.”

Reagan’s 1988 SOU: 3 hours to read 1,000-page behemoths


(Photo: Reagan Presidential Library)

“And then, along came these behemoths….You had three hours – yes, three hours – to consider each, and it took 300 people at my Office of Management and Budget just to read the bill so the government wouldn’t shut down.

ADDRESS BEFORE A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS ON THE STATE OF THE UNION
January 25, 1988 full text
[snip]

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, I will say to you tonight what I have said before – and will continue to say: The budget process has broken down; it needs a drastic overhaul. With each ensuing year, the spectacle before the American people is the same as it was this Christmas – budget deadlines delayed or missed completely, monstrous continuing resolutions that pack hundreds of billions of dollars worth of spending into one bill – and a federal government on the brink of default.

I know I’m echoing what you here in the Congress have said because you suffered so directly – but let’s recall that in seven years, of 91 appropriations bills scheduled to arrive on my desk by a certain date, only 10 made it on time. Last year, of the 13 appropriations bills due by October 1st, none of them made it. Instead, we had four continuing resolutions lasting 41 days, then 36 days, and two days, and three days, respectively. And then, along came these behemoths. This is the conference report – 1,053 page report weighing 14 pounds. Then this – a reconciliation bill six months late, that was 1,186 pages long, weighing 15 pounds; and the long-term continuing resolution – this one was two months late and it’s 1,057 pages long, weighing 14 pounds. That was a total of 43 pounds of paper and ink. You had three hours – yes, three hours – to consider each, and it took 300 people at my Office of Management and Budget just to read the bill so the government wouldn’t shut down. Congress shouldn’t send another one of these. No and if you do, I will not sign it.

Let’s change all this; instead of a presidential budget that gets discarded and a congressional budget resolution that is not enforced, why not a simple partnership, a joint agreement that sets out the spending priorities within the available revenues? And let’s remember our deadline is October 1st, not Christmas; let’s get the people’s work done in time to avoid a footrace with Santa Claus. And yes, this year – to coin a phrase – a new beginning. Thirteen individual bills, on time and fully reviewed by Congress.

[Emphasis added. Reason magazine notes that Reagan did not object when this type of process in his first term helped him enact his tax cuts.]

Republican Leader candidates answer "72 hours online" question

In mid-January 2006, Hugh Hewitt put the 72 hours online question to the three candidates for House Majority Leader. The question was prompted by blogger Mark Tapscott of the Heritage Foundation. Also, the question was discussed by the candidates on conference calls with bloggers as compiled at the Truth Laid Bear.

Wall Street Journal: Insist on 3 days to read the bills (1/19/06)

This editorial does not speak to or endorse the 72 Online rule. But it argues that allowing time to read legislation might reduce the size and cost of government.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Kindergarten kids have more clue than Congress (1/4/06)

Written before ReadtheBill.org was launched, this editorial describes the problem.

Radley Balko on FoxNews.com: Enthusiasm to pass laws threatens business and liberties (12/4/04)

This good piece from 2004 is worth a read. Balko praises the Washington Post op-ed by Rep. Brian Baird on this subject.

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