The following is cross-posted at www.fiscalaccountability.org:
After weeks of keeping it under wraps, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to unveil his health bill later today.
We know it’s going to be a costly package raising taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars and destroying private health insurance. What we don’t know at this point, is whether Sen. Reid is actually going to let taxpayers read the bill before taking any further action – e.g. holding a procedural vote to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed to consideration of the bill.
You may recall that all GOP Senators have asked for the bill to be posted online as soon as possible. Members of Reid’s own caucus also sent a letter to him asking specifically for 72 hours of public review time prior to a vote to proceed:
Every step of the process needs to be transparent, and information regarding the bill needs to be readily available to our constituents before the Senate starts to vote on legislation that will affect the lives of every American. The legislative text and complete budget scores from the Congressional Budget Office (C.B.O.) of the health care legislation considered on the Senate floor should be made available on a Web site the public can access for at least 72 hours prior to the first vote to proceed to the legislation.
Yet it is still unclear what Sen. Reid will do. If he was to adhere to a 72 hour waiting period, the earliest a vote could occur would be Saturday evening, but there is speculation whether he wants to wrap the procedural vote up on Friday. His response to the Senate GOP’s letterwas pretty vague with regard to a timeline, saying that he
will make the legislation available to the full Senate and the American people prior to its consideration. There will be ample opportunity to examine and evaluate its provisions.
Note that this says "prior to its consideration" – not the motion to proceed to consideration – and who knows what "ample opportunity" is in the eyes of Sen. Reid.
Whether or not he will give American taxpayers enough time to read the bill, CFA is urging all members to vote against any motion to proceed to the bill, and will be rating a vote against such a motion in our annual Congressional ratings.
Photo credit: Leo Reynolds