Congressmen Had 1,000 Minutes to Read 2,232-Page $1.3T Bill

Terence P. Jeffrey | March 22, 2018 | 5:00pm EDT
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Members of the House of Representatives had 1,000 minutes—overnight—to read a 2,232-page bill that spends $1.3 trillion.

On Wednesday, March 21, the House Appropriations Committee put out a press release headlined “Government-Wide Funding Legislation Released.”

“The bill contains the full legislation and funding for all of the 12 annual Appropriations bills,” said the release. “It totals $1.3 trillion, including $78.1 billion in funding for the Global War on Terror (GWOT)/Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). Total base funding, excluding OCO and emergencies, is $1.2 trillion.”

At the bottom of the press release, the committee included a link to the House documents page where “the text of the legislation” was available.

This page shows that the text of the bill—H.R. 1625—was “Added 03/21/2018 at 07:57 PM.”

The PDF of the 2,232-page text of the $1.3-trillion spending bill was added to the House documents page at 7:57 p.m. on Wednesday night:

The PDF of the full text of the bill that is posted there is 2,232 pages long.

The final roll-call vote on H.R. 1625--as memorialized on C-SPAN--began at 12:37 pm and ended at about 12:59 pm on Thursday, March 22. The bill passed 256 to 167—with 90 Republicans voting against it and 111 Democrats voting for it.

The 12:37 p.m. vote in the House started 16 hours and 40 minutes--or 1,000 minutes--after the bill was posted online.

As recorded by C-SPAN the roll call vote on the 2,232-page $1.3-trillion bill began at 12:37 p.m. on Thursday:

Had a member downloaded the PDF of the bill the moment it was “added” to the House document webpage on Wednesday night and started reading it immediately, and then had the member kept reading it without a break until the moment the vote started at 12:37 pm on Thursday afternoon, the member would have needed to read about 2.32 pages per minute to get it completed.

An American citizen, of course, would also have needed to download the bill the moment it was released to have taken advantage of the full 1,000 minutes that passed before the House Republican leadership brought it up for a vote.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 18, 2009, as has previously reported, then-House Minority Leader John Boehner said: “We are going to get the reform movement moving again in the United States Congress. One of my first orders of business would be to post every bill online for at least 72 hours before it comes to the floor of the House for a vote. We’ll require every committee to quickly post the bills that move out of their committee and put those bills online so you can read them.”

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