25 Bills Rushed in 2009January 12, 2010 - by Donny Shaw
In 2009, Congress rushed a total of 25 bills to the floor without posting them online at least 72 hours beforehand for public review. That includes a lot of major pieces of legislation, like the stimulus bill, cash for clunkers, and a bill to make the estate tax permanent. You can see the full list here.
Last February, the Sunlight Foundation launched the Read the Bill campaign asking Congress to post all non-emergency legislation online for 72 hours before debate begins. There has definitely been some progress since the campaign launched. On the biggest issue Congress has been dealing with, health care reform, all versions of the legislation have been posted online for 72 hours before debate and there is indication that that will happen again with the final version that will be voted on in the coming weeks. The unprecedented level of engagement we’ve seen on health care reform, with ordinary citizens analyzing policy details and actual legislative text, is helping to create an expectation that detailed information about what’s happening in Congress will be made available on the internet.
Several bills have been submitted in the House and Senate echoing the 72-hour sentiment.
But there is still a lot of progress to be made. On issues that the general public isn’t paying close attention to — i.e. just about everything besides health care — bills are still being rushed through the legislative process.
We’ll continue monitoring which bills are rushed to the floor without being online for 72 hours first— let’s see if Congress can keep the list below 25 for 2010.