Now that House and Senate negotiators nave reached a deal reconciling “their two versions” of the so-called “stimulus,” will they, in accord with President Obama’s commitment to transparency, give the public time to review the multi-hundred billion dollar package before putting it before their respective houses for a vote?
Given the magnitude of the package and the number of programs it includes, it seems only fair that since it is the people’s money (and that of their children and grandchildren), that we at least get the chance to read it and consider its merits.Â So we can have time to share our thoughts with our elected representatives, Congress should delay the vote allowing members to return to their jurisdictions to hear what their constituents have to say.
This is an unprecedented sum for one bill.Â While CNN may say it’s “less than” $800 billion, it’s still more than $700 billion cost of the bailout.Â Congress had two separate votes on that.
Less than 48 hours elapsed between the time the text of the compromise became available for public examination late Saturday evening and yesterday’s 61-37 vote for passage. At that rate, the Senate effectively was spending about $300 million every minute while considering the compromise, and allowing taxpayers a scandalously brief opportunity to discover how the senators were doing it.
UP-UPDATE: John Hinderaker is not confident the House will follow through on its promise of transparency:
Yesterday, the House voted unanimously to make the final text of the bill available on the internet for 48 hours before a vote is taken on it, so that the American people can have some idea what is being voted on. It doesn’t appear, though, that this will be done.