House Vote on Fiscal Cliff Bill Breaks GOP 3-Day Pledge to Read the Bill

By Matt Cover | January 2, 2013 | 5:38pm EST

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – When the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a Senate bill to avoid the fiscal cliff around 10:45 PM on Tuesday, it violated its pledge to allow three days for the public to read the legislation, a promise House Republicans made to voters before the 2010 elections.

The House passed the bill with a vote of 257-167 in evening on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the Senate had drafted and passed the bill close to 2:00 AM Tuesday morning.

In its Pledge to America document, House Republicans promised: “We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.”

In all, the 154-page “fiscal cliff” bill was available for approximately 22 hours before the House voted on it Tuesday night. If a member of the public was awake when the bill first became available after the Senate vote, approximately 1:39 AM Tuesday, they would have to read an average of one page of dense legislative text every 8.6 minutes to finish reading the bill in the 22 hours between House and Senate passage.

The bill needed significant Democratic support to pass, which it received, along with 85 Republican ‘yea’ votes, including that of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

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