War supplemental bill available on paper only

By Rafael DeGennaro, March 20, 2007 – 10:29pm.

Members of the public can get a copy of “committee print” version of the emergency war supplemental appropriations bill that goes to the House floor this week. But only on paper. According to helpful House Appropriations Committee majority staff person at 2:30 PM, copies of the bill (172 pages), committee report (245 pages) and amendments adopted in committee can be obtained by visiting in person the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

Nothing is available online at this time. The report is expected to be filed late Tuesday, March 20, and typically becomes available online on THOMAS several hours later.

The “committee print” is the draft version of the bill and report distributed to committee members for the full committee markup, which was held Wed., March 14. Committee staff say the paper documents were made publicly available on Thur., March 15.

The good news is that interested persons in Washington, DC can get the texts. The bad news is that it’s hard to do if you are a journalist or activist who is not in the capital city. At a subtler level, we wonder if the fact that the report has not been formally filed might make it easy to fiddle with some language before it’s brought up for floor debate.

Broken link: ReadtheBill.org is never satisfied with summaries prepared by the committees — we want all the fine print. But if members of the public go to the home page for the House Appropriations Committee and click on the first link for a summary of the supplemental, the link is broken as of 2:45 PM.
Update: Tues, Mar. 20 The link was fixed.