As revisions to the Health Care bill have been taking place, the Finance Committee has decided against posting the full text online. Apparently some members of this committee have not even read the final version that they will vote on. Protest the Senate Finance Committee voting on a mysterious health bill that they may not have even read and that they are not allowing the public to read. According to the Finance Committee website, they will get back to work with this Health Care bill again on Tuesday.
Find other Senators on this list http://bit.ly/44KkNP.
Background: See archive of WSJ article here.
Senate Panel Nixes Posting Health Bill Online
WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance Committee opened a second day of debate on health-care legislation, tangling Wednesday over whether the full bill should be made available online before the panel votes on it.
The committee has a “conceptual” version of the health-care bill posted on its Web site, rather than a fulltext of the bill. Compiling the complex language with amendments into a bill and consequently receiving an official would take weeks, according to the committee’s chairman, Sen. Max Baucus.
By a 12-11 vote, the committee defeated a Republican amendment that would have required it to post the full bill at least 72 hours before it votes on whether to approve the measure.
The committee slogged through nearly two hours of debate on the amendment, which was offered by Sen. Jim Bunning (R., Ky.). Republicans argued that the amendment would make the committee’s process on the complicated legislation more transparent.
“It would seem crazy to most people that we vote on something when we didn’t see the legislative language,” Mr. Bunning said. “Well, they’d be right. It is crazy.”
Democrats countered that a conceptual, “plain English” version of the bill does a better job of explaining what the bill would do.
“Let’s be honest about it,” said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. “Legislative language is relatively arcane, very legalistic, and most people don’t read the legislative language.”
Mr. Baucus, a Montana Democrat, warned that the amendment could delay the bill’s passage by two to three weeks, which accounts for time needed for the technical work of adding amendments to the bill. Mr. Baucus also argued that the committee had taken unprecedented steps to provide information on the bill, such as posting proposed amendments to the bill to its Web site two days before the committee took up the measure.
He offered a modified version of the amendment that would require the committee to post the conceptual version of the bill online ahead of a committee vote as well as a preliminary cost estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, but Mr. Bunning said that it wouldn’t provide enough information. Mr. Baucus’s version of the amendment was approved by a party-line 13-10 vote.
Only one Democrat — Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas — voted for Mr. Bunning’s version of the amendment.