Published on ReadtheBill.org (http://www.readthebill.org)

Legislation — Overview

READTHEBILL.ORG VIEWS
ReadtheBill.org respectfully requests that members of Congress do the following:

(1) Cosponsor H.Res.688 (in the House).
The top legislative priority for ReadtheBill.org is to get more cosponsors for H.Res. 688, authored by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) and introduced Feb. 16, 2006. This resolution would establish the 72 Online rule.

ReadtheBill.org does not support any other reform initiative in the House or Senate. No Senate companion resolution to H.Res.688 has been introduced.

SHORT SUMMARY: H.Res.688 would require posting legislation and conference reports on the Internet for 72 hours before floor consideration. H.Res.688 would amend the standing rules of the House to update and strengthen the existing three-day rule in the House and close various loopholes. It would replace the obsolete, unenforceable, routinely-waived three-day rule it with the modern, tough, endorceable 72 Online rule. Unlike the three-day rule, the 72 Online rule would apply even in the final week of a congressional session, when the worst abuses occur.

Summary of Provisions (HTML) [1] — MS Word version [2]
Full text of the resolution and other info [3] (on the Library of Congress Thomas system)
Standing Rules of the House of Representatives [4] (What H.Res.688 amends — see rules 13 & 22 only)

Official list of cosponsors [5] (on the Library of Congress Thomas system)
Opponents of passage of H.Res.688 [6]

Arguments for H.Res.688 [7]
Arguments against H.Res.688 (and ReadtheBill’s counterarguments) [8]

Tell your Representative to cosponsor
[9] (Action page)

(2) Vote against waiving the current three-day rule (in the House)
Clause 4 of House rule XIII (legislation) and clause 8 of rule XXII (conference reports) contain the current three-day rule. This rule is routinely ignored by waiving “all points of order,” often for the convenience of committees that have failed to produce timely legislation that can bear scrutiny. ReadtheBill.org urges you to vote NO on waivers of the three-day rule and similar existing requirements granting time for members to read legislation and conference reports. If a bill is brought up more than three days after it is available to members, then the procedural rule for its consideration should not waive the three-day rule.

(3) Oppose fake reforms
Various bills (some of which contain otherwise meritorious provisions) have been proposed by members of both parties to address the problem of inadequate time to read the bills. Amazingly, some of these bills would reduce the time to read, or not post bills online.

*Oppose reducing the existing three-day rule in the House to 24 or 48 hours. Shortening and weakening the three-day rule is not reform, it is surrender to business as usual. The existing three-day rule is on the books for a good reason. It should be strengthened, modernized and enforced as the 72 Online rule. It should not be shortened to the 48-hour rule or 24-hour rule.

*Oppose “members-only” reading. The current system is unenforceable because reading is only for members of the private club. Only by posting the bills on the Internet and allowing anyone to read them can the rules be enforced. Then, proposed waivers of online posting will meet anger on the Internet, as if someone tried to pull the plug on C-SPAN. Enforcement only happens online.


HOUSE
Various process change initiatives [10] (none are supported by ReadtheBill.org)


SENATE
Various process change initiatives [11] (none are supported by ReadtheBill.org)

No companion resolution to H.Res.688 has been introduced in the Senate.

Standing Rules of the Senate [12] (for reference purposes only)

Other Senate legislative process resources [13] (for reference purposes only)


Source URL:
http://www.readthebill.org/leg/overview