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Quick, to the Outer Continental Shelf

September 17, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

There are plenty of reasons why one might not like the Democrats’ new energy bill, but Paul Blumenthal at the Sunlight Foundation has a unique one:

>Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted on a bill that ought to offend Americans of all stripes. The culmination of a compromise with the demands made during August’s pro-drilling, Republican sit-in, the bill would end a 27-year ban on offshore drilling and revoke $18 billion in tax incentives and subsidies to the oil industry. Now it may be remarkable to some because it repeals a near three-decade long congressional policy, or because the Republicans clamoring for a vote all punched their electronic tally machine, “Nay,” but neither of those reasons make it offensive. The bill’s offensiveness is underlined by its being unremarkable.
>Unremarkable because it, like too many bills, was nearly impossible to read or study prior to a final vote. The bill, H.R. 6899, clocking in at 290 pages long was introduced at 9:24 pm on September 15, 2008 and was voted out of the House Rules Committee at midnight. The final vote was held at 10:05 on September 16, 2008. That left 24.5 hours for lawmakers, staff, watchdogs, and concerned citizens to read the bill, or if one counts from the time the bill reported out of Rules, 22 hours.

Here’s a fix that’s currently pending in Congress:

H.Res.504 – Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to require that legislation and conference reports be available on the Internet for 72 hours before consideration by the House, and for other purposes.

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