(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will read the entirety of the final text of the health care reform bill before the House votes on it and will provide the public “ample time” to review the legislation, says Pelosi's spokesman.
However, the speaker’s office declined to specify what is meant by “ample time.”
“The speaker is currently reading the health care draft legislation and will do the same with the final legislation before the House votes on it,” Pelosi’s Communications Director Brendan Daly told CNSNews.com. “The speaker will allow an ample amount of time for the public to read the final legislation before it is voted on.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio.) is currently rallying support for a pledge that asks members of Congress to commit to reading the entire final text of a health care reform bill and insist that it be posted online 72 hours before it comes up for a vote.
Pelosi, however, did not agree to make the same pledge during her press conference last Thursday. At that conference, CNSNews.com asked the speaker the following:
“Minority Leader Boehner has taken a pledge that he will not vote for a health care bill that he hasn’t read--that he hasn’t had a chance to read in its entirety or until it’s made available to the public online for 72 hours. Will you take that pledge and encourage other members to take it as well?”
Pelosi said: “Is this a pledge that is in keeping with him reading all of the bills that he has ever voted for? I don’t know what his pledge is, but we pledge to have a full process that gives ample time for the legislation to be well-known to the public.
“Every person in America is an expert on his or her health care, and they are all very curious about what will be there,” she said.
Boehner expressed concern that Democrats intend to prevent public access to the complete text of the bill with adequate time to review it before the House votes. He charged the House leadership with not wanting the public to read the full bill before the vote.
“They don’t want people to read this. They might find out how ridiculous this is,” Boehner told CNSNews.com at his own press conference Thursday.
Boehner cited recent examples of major bills that went to a vote before lawmakers could adequately review them.
As the House prepared to cast its votes on the energy bill two weeks ago, Boehner spent more than an hour reading verbatim portions of a 316-page amendment that had been added the morning of the vote.
“If you have watched how they have brought these major bills to the floor, they bring them to the floor, they bring in big amendments in the dead of night, and pass it before anyone has any clue what is there,” Boehner said.
“Because, as we found out when I went through the 316-page amendment that was filed at 3:09 a.m., members were appalled at what was just in the amendment--and I did not even get through the whole amendment,” he said.
While Pelosi’s office said the speaker would provide the American people “ample time” to read the final version of health care reform legislation before it is voted on, “ample time” was not defined.
As CNSNews.com has previously reported bills have been pushed through this Congress before legislators and the public had had adequate time to actually read the the final texts.
Interviews with lawmakers revealed that members had too little time to read the 1,550-page American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (cap-and-trade) and the 1,071-page American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (economic stimulus) before they passed through Congress.