Rhetoric - 72 Hour Rule

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Rhetoric around the 72 Hour Rule

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)

  • "Again, it is rather disturbing, Madam Speaker, that the 72-hour rule has been cast aside." Congressional Record, 3/12/2010
  • "We shouldn't be changing course in terms of the 72-hour rule. The publichas gotten to know that and expects us to give them their right to know, Mr. Speaker." Congressional Record, 12/11/09
  • "Mr. Speaker, I was somewhat amused by the gentleman's commitment to givethe public and Members as much time as they, the majority, could. Again, we have a 72-hour rule in place, I thought, and that was for the very purpose of allowing all of us, including our constituents, the right to realize what's going on in this House. Obviously, we have a lotof work undone for the year. We've got 5 legislative days next week. Certainly, if we are going to be incurring the type of debt and expenditure that we are looking at, surely we could make sure that thereis adequate notice and that the 72-hour rule is abided by...the public is looking for transparency, the public is looking for fiscal responsibility...I think, Mr. Speaker, we should afford the public its right to know." Congressional Record, 12/11/09

Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX)

  • "The gentlelady and the previous speaker and I talked about the 72-hour rule, the concept of a bill being available for not only Membersto read but also constituents to read. This one's been available longer than 72 hours. And as far as I can tell, the sun came up in the east this morning and the world's continuing to turn, so this system can, in fact, work under a rational process that allows 72 hours to expire before something is voted on. So I want to brag on the majority for conducting themselves in the way that they said they would do throughout the 2006 campaign. And now, at least with this one narrow example, they have shown that the 72-hour rule will, in fact, work." Congressional Record, 10/7/09

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

  • "What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill." Journal Star, Not too much to ask from Congress, 8/1/2009

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

  • "The Members aren't allowed to read the bill. The 72-hour rule has gone out the window. Nobody is allowed to read the bill because there is not enough time to do it. We have been operating, as my colleague said, under closed rules with bills with no amendments while we are doing things like recognizing the Grand Concourse on its 100th anniversary as the preeminent thoroughfare in the borough of the Bronx and as an important nexus of commerce and culture for the City of New York." Congressional Record, 12/16/09

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

  • "So I say to my friend that we will certainly give as much notice as possible, but I am not going to say that 72 hours is going to be the litmus test, per se, because that which we have voted on already in the House and the Senate have given Members months of notice and the American public months of notice on the substance of the propositions that are pending before us...First of all, the 72-hour rule, I didn't say that we were casting aside any rule, nor did I say that we may not have more than 72 hours' notice. You may well have more than 72 hours' notice. What I said to you was I am not going to commit myself and then have 70 hours as opposed to 72 hours and think that I have violated some representation that I made. We want to give as much notice as we possibly can." Congressional Record, 3/12/10

Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI)

  • "Only in Washington will politicians find a way for three days to take less than seventy-two hours, but that's exactly what's House Republican leadership has done," said Rep. Gary Peters. " The American people were promised seventy-two hours to read and review bills before a vote, but instead Republicans are using a 'three day rule' that lets them rush through bills in far less time. If you say 72 hours, you should mean 72 hours, and this kind of political double-speak is why Americans feel Washington is out of touch." Statement by Rep. Peters, 4/15/2011

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)

  • "The Period of time on which the rule is predicated is not a number of hours, but rather a number of days, specifically calendar days...other than weekends or holidays when the House is not in session." The Hill, 3/17/2011

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)

  • Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., pleaded that the Senate Finance Committee have "at least 72 hours for the people that the providers have hired to keep up with all of the legislation that we pass around here..." National Journal, Transparency Triumphant?, 9/25/2009

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

  • "Republicans and Democrats have both rushed legislation in the past; however, this Democratic Majority has been using the fast-track so often that it is raising concern all around. In order to have an honest debate, we need to slow the process down for everyone. And if it is not emergency legislation, is there any real harm in allowing Members and the public three days to digest the legislation?" Examiner.com, 10/8/2009

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)

  • Weiner objected to consideration of the bill, saying it violates a Houserule, "which requires 72 hour layover of the bill and it to be electronically noticed in order for it to be considered by the House." He continued, "This bill did not lay over for 72 hours. It was noticed at 1:42 p.m. on Tuesday. Therefore it has to wait until 1:42 on Friday to be in compliance with the rules of the House... Would the Speaker please clarify for the body that the 72 hours rule is either being waived or does not exist?" CNN, Dem. tweaks House Republicans ahead of NPR defunding vote, 3/17/2011

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

  • Welch said the 72-hour rule could be waived, “but if you want to waive that 72-hour rule, that is another hand grenade. You are playing with fire when you get this close to a deadline.” Burlington Free Press, 4/5/2011

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

  • But when the Budget Control Act comes up for a vote on the House Floor -- arguably the most significant bill under Boehner's leadership -- lawmakers won't have the promised 72 hours to read it. Boehner's office defended the latest move. "This legislation is similar to the House-passed Budget Control Act, with three clear and easy-to-understand changes," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told Byron York of the Washington Examiner. "We wish there was time to wait three days, but as a result of Washington Democrats' refusal to offer their own plan our backs are against the wall -- and the three-day rule has a clear exception for such emergencies." Heritage Blog, House won't provide 72 hours to review budget control act, 8/1/2011
  • A collection of Boehner's 72 hour rule rhetoric on video, as compiled by the Sunlight Foundation. 
  • When asked how the proposal squared with GOP management of the House during their recent 12 years of control, Minority Leader Boehner said, "It's time to change a lot of things about how Congress works...whether we are the majority or the minority.", National Journal, Transparency Triumphant?, 9/25/2009. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

  • On September 24, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told The Weekly Standard that she was "absolutely, without question" committed to putting the text of the final House bill online for 72 hours before a vote. But...when asked if Speaker Pelosi will leave the bill online for 72 hours after we see what's in the rule, Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly replied in an email "No; [the] pledge was to have manager's amendment online for 72 hours, and we will do that." The Weekly Standard, Pelosi breaks pledge to put final health care bill online for 72 hours before vote, 11/5/2009