From Stimulus to Sequester, Bills Don't Get Read - Will Immigration?

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | April 10, 2013 | 6:49 PM EDT

The Senate is set to unveil a controversial new immigration bill - but, will our elected representatives actually take the time to read it before voting on it? Not if past history is any predictor.

The Senate immigration reform bill is scheduled to have only one hearing. But, even though the new law could potentially change Life As We Know It here in the U.S., will people actually take the time to read through the whole 1,000-Plus page bill before voting on it?

Not likely, if the track record of our elected lawmakers - on everything from Obamacare to the Stimulus to climate change to the Fiscal Cliff - is any indication:

Obamacare: Sen. Thomas Carper (D.-Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told in 2009 that he does not "expect" to read the actual legislative language of the committee's health care bill because it is "confusing" and that anyone who claims they are going to read it and understand it is fooling people.

The Stimulus: Then-Minority Leader John Boehner displayed the massive piece of Stimulus legislation on the podium, and complained that no one had read it. "Here we are with 1,100 pages--1,100 pages--not one member of this body has read," "Not one," Boehner said in a 2009 floor speech. "Not one." The Stimulus was put up for a vote only a day after it was posted.

Fiscal Cliff Deal: In January of this year, the U.S. Senate voted 89-8 to approve legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff despite having only 3 minutes to read the 154-page bill and budget score.

$1.1 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.) told in 2010 that there is "no way" someone could master the full 1,924-page, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill before Congress votes on it later this week.

$269 Billion Continuing Resolution: Earlier this year, House Republican leaders rushed through a vote on a 269-page $982-billion continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2013 in direct violation of a pledge they made to the American people to post bills online for at least 72 hours before voting on them.

2009 Climate Change Bill: Almost all of the House members surveyed by said they had not read the entire 1,200-page climate-change bill before they were to cast their vote Friday evening. But almost all of them knew how they were going to vote.

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