The Senate Finance Committee today rejected an amendment requiring that the health care bill text and score be posted online for a full 72 hours before a committee vote – ATR and CFA condemned the vote. From our press release:

As the Senate Finance Committee works through committee amendments to Chairman Max Baucus’s (D-Mont.) mark on the health care bill, the committee today rejected a provision offered by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) that would have required that the legislative language and the final cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office be posted on the committee’s Web site for 72 hours before the committee votes on the final bill.
Committee Chairman Max Baucus said that if the bill were to be written that way, it would take at least two weeks for staff to do so. Standard practice in the committee (the only committee working under this practice) is to vote on a bill that is provided in what some have dubbed “plain English” – really only conceptual language. While this practice has been ongoing for the last thirty or so years, this Congress’s leadership vowed at one point to make this “the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history.”
Says ATR president Grover Norquist:
“A 72-hour requirement would take an extra two weeks? So what? Senator Baucus, do we not deserve a few extra days of your time given that you and your fellow Democrats are setting out to completely overhaul our entire health care system funded with our tax dollars?”
“Conceptual language certainly isn’t good enough. Regardless of what common practice used to be – an overhaul of such proportions handed down from leaders of the supposedly ‘most honest, ethical and open Congress in history’ deserves thorough public scrutiny of every single word in the bill.”

Photo credit: Brooks Elliott