(CNSNews.com) - Conservative Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R.-Kan.) said on Wednesday that Republicans “haven’t quite followed through” on the pledge they made before the 2010 election to make the text of legislation publicly available for three days before it comes up for a vote, and conservative Rep. Justin Amash said that although the pledge says that bills will be posted online for three days, Republicans could finesse that by posting a bill from shortly before midnight one day to shortly after midnight the next day.
The congressman said it’s not clear if the pledge will be followed if and when “fiscal cliff” legislation emerges.
In their “Pledge to America” introduced in September 2010, House Republicans--led by current Speaker of the House John Boehner--said all legislation would be publicly available for "at least" three days before coming to a vote.
“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,” the Pledge says. “No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public.”
Rep. Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said members of Congress don’t even have details of a fiscal cliff proposal yet, let alone know when it might come up for a vote.
At a Capitol Hill press conference, CNSNews.com asked several House conservatives: “The Pledge to America was mentioned before, that said, ‘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.’ And that was incorporated into the House rules, and if a fiscal cliff agreement is reached, will House Republicans [and] Speaker Boehner ensure that they will keep that pledge?”
Huelskamp responded, “The history has been that those were some nice words during a campaign, and we haven’t quite followed through on that.
“But you know what?" said Huelskamp. "There’s plenty of time to put it down, but we don’t have issues or details of the proposal. We don’t have any more details than you have. Actually, I bet you have more than I do. And so at a minimum, at least please follow that part of the pledge and give us some opportunity to review that if something is presented back.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said the so-called “three-day rule” doesn’t provide a lot of assurance that legislation will be available for three full days before it’s put to a vote.
“To be clear, the three-day rule doesn’t require anything to be online for 72 hours or available for 72 hours. They propose it Tuesday late at night and take it up Thursday morning first thing, 12 or 1 a.m.,” Amash said. “And you can also substitute in a whole new bill on the day of the vote, so all that has to happen is the bill number is essentially produced. So the three-day rule is not much of a protection at all.”
When CNSNews.com asked if conservative members will vote on a fiscal cliff proposal even if it’s not publicly available for three days, Amash replied, “Even with the deals they’re talking about, I’m not likely to vote for it anyway.”