GOP Leaders Again Break Pledge to Post Bills 72 Hrs Before Vote: Pass 574-Page Senate CR

March 21, 2013 - 12:20 PM

John Boehner, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy

Then-House Minority Leader John Boehner holds 'A Pledge to America' on Sept. 23, 2010, flanked by then-Minority Whip Eric Cantor, then Republican Conference Vice Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and then Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) - The House Republican leadership on Thursday again violated a pledge they made to the nation back in 2010 that if they regained control of the House of Representatives they would put “all pieces of legislation” online for at least 72 hours before bringing them up for a vote.

On Wednesday at 4:29 p.m., the Senate passed a 574-page continuing resolution that will fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2013. This 574-page continuing resolution differed from the 269-page version of the continuing resolution (H.R. 933) that the House had passed back on March 6. Nonetheless, the House Republican leadership brought the Senate language up for a vote in the House at 10:54 a.m. on Thursday--only 18 hours and 15 minutes after it passed the Senate.

There was no need to rush this 574-page piece of legislation to a vote this morning because the current continuing resolution, under which the government is being funded, runs through March 27--six days from now. There was plenty of time for the Republicans to fulfill their pledge and let Americans read and discuss this bill for at least 72 hours before they took it up for a vote.

The Hill published a piece at 10:01 p.m. on Wednesday reporting that the House Rules Committee had released the text of the Senate-version of the CR that the Senate had approved five and a half hours earlier.

“The House Rules Committee late Wednesday released the text of the Senate-passed bill that keeps the government funded for the rest of fiscal year 2013,” said The Hill. “The bill is the Senate-amended H.R. 933.”

Back on Sept. 23, 2010, when House Republican leaders were reaching out to the Tea Party movement in hopes of winning back control of Congress in that year’s midterm elections, they released a document they called “A Pledge to America.”

“We will govern differently than past Congresses of both parties,” said this Republican pledge. “We will require that every bill contain a citation of Constitutional authority. We will give all Representatives and citizens at least three days to read the bill before a vote.”

At the event the Republican leaders staged for release of “A Pledge to America,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R.-Utah) stood with then-House Minority Leader John Boehner, then-Minority Whip Eric Cantor and then-Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy and explained that this language meant the Republicans were promising to the nation that they would post all pieces of legislation online for “at least 72 hours.”

“We are taking a pledge today to do a number of things,” said Chaffetz. “It starts with all pieces of legislation be available online for 72 hours--at least 72 hours--so that the public has a chance to review the legislation and so that members of Congress can actually read the bill.”

McCarthy, who is now the House Republican Whip, went on national television twice and reiterated that the Republicans were pledging to America to post legislation online for 72 hours before voting on it.

McCarthy told Fox News on Sept. 23, 2010, that he would love to debate Democrats about the provisions in the pledge the Republicans had released that very day. “Do they disagree that a bill should be put online for 72 hours and actually read before it’s voted on?” McCarthy said.

“When you look at the Pledge to America that the Republicans have laid out, there is a cultural change in there,” McCarthy told CNN on Oct. 10, 2010. “There is something that opens up the floor that hasn't been done for quite some time, where bills won't be written in the back of the room, where the bills have to be laid out for 72 hours, where bills actually have an open rule, where people can bring amendments up on the floor, which any freshman congressman that's sitting there today has never even seen that happen under the rule of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats.”

After the Republicans did win back control of the House in the 2010 election, Speaker-to-be John Boehner released an op-ed on Nov. 12, 2010, highlighting his and his party’s pledge to post bills online for 72 hours before voting on them.

“We will make it easier to cut spending, require bills to be published publicly for 72 hours before Congress votes, and end the practice of using 'comprehensive' bills to lump together issues that have nothing to do with each other,” wrote Boehner.

Back on March 6, when the House Republican leaders called a vote on their version of the CR, they also broke their “Pledge to America” to post bills online for at least 72 hours.

As CNSNews.com reported at the time, the text of that 269-page version of the bill was posted at 2:21 p.m. on Monday, March 4 and voted on at 2:03 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6.

This final Senate-approved 574-page version of the CR was approved by the House 318 to 109 in a vote held at 10:54 a.m. today, the morning after the Senate voted on it and the final Senate text was made available online by the House Rules Committee.

Only 27 House Republicans voted against it the Senate version of the CR.