When Republicans took over the House in January, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) promised the public, “I will not bring a bill to the floor that hasn’t been posted online for at least 72 hours.”
House Republicans are set to break that promise tomorrow afternoon when they push through a vote on the budget deal reached last Friday with Senate Democrats and President Obama. The agreement, which has been criticized by both progressive and Tea Party members of Congress, was posted online last night at 2 am, and is set to be voted on tomorrow at 2 pm — leaving less than 36 hours for public review.
It’s not the first time Republicans have waived the transparency rules they passed in January to move contentious legislation through the House. Last month, House Republicans debated and voted on a bill defunding NPR more than twenty hours before the review period had even ended.
The violation prompted an outcry from Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), forcing then-presiding speaker Ted Poe (R-TX) to insist the GOP’s 72-hour rule actually meant only three calendar days:
Two weeks later, Republicans again waived the rule while considering another piece of radical right-wing legislation, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, which would have implemented HR 1 without the Senate’s assent.
As Minority Leader, Boehner repeatedly said that a 72-hour review period was necessary to allow lawmakers to read the bills they were voting on and keep the public informed about pending legislation:
As Paul Blumenthal notes, the GOP House majority is evading their pledge — and their commitment to public involvement in the legislative process — “for nothing other than the pursuit of quick political wins and message control. This is very disturbing.”