Saturday, July 18, 2009

Discharge H. Res. 554

With the health care debate raging, now is the time for Congress to implement the rules change being pushed by the good people at the Sunlight Foundation via

H. Res. 554 was reported to committee on June 17th, with no action since. Here's what the Resolution does:
Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to require that legislation
and conference reports be available on the Internet for 72 hours
before consideration by the House, and for other purposes.
As crucial as it is that we pass health care reform, it is equally crucial that we do it right. And even if it's employed by the Blue Dog Democrats and the Republicans as a delay tactic, a discharge petition for H. Res 554 may be in order.

The discharge petition would get the bill out of the rules committee and on to the floor for a vote. I'd fully support Representative Scott Garrett if they got the petition voted on and passed, because that's how important it is that the health bill is done right and in full view of the public.

It's been clear for some time when bills are rushed is when lobbyist and special interest provisions are inserted. While the perfect can't be the enemy of the good, if we're not careful, the largest reform in many of our lifetimes could turn into something much less than good.

Although this bill seems to reverse many examples of recent history of rushed bills gone wrong (ex. Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Donut Hole), when bills come out of committee without review there's no way to guess what other things may have been inserted.

Anyone who honestly cares about making sure this reform is done right should be supporting H. Res 554. It would provide the confidence going forward, or an opportunity see issues that need amending, or the silver bullet if it deserves to fail.

Whether for or against the bill, we need to know what's in the bill.

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