Colin A. Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
Edwin Meese, former Attorney General
Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America
William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government
Matt Kibbe, President, Freedom Works
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Becky Norton Dunlop, President, Council for National Policy
Tim Phillips, President, Americans for Prosperity
Gary Bauer, President, American Values
Kenneth Blackwell, former Treasurer, State of Ohio
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
James C. Miller III, former Reagan Budget Director
David McIntosh, former Member of Congress, Indiana
Craig Shirley, Chairman, Citizens for the Republic
Jim Martin, President, 60 Plus Association
Herman Cain, President, THE New Voice, Inc.
Ron Robinson, President, Young America’s Foundation
Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center
Phil Burress, President, Citizens for Community Values
Alfred Regnery, Publisher, American Spectator
MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT
Democrat Congressional leaders undermine transparency and bipartisanship
RE: Amending the Rules of Congress to require that legislation is available on the Internet for 72 hours before consideration by the House: The House and Senate Democratic Leadership apparently do not want colleagues and the public to see legislation before they vote on it.
ACTION: We urge you to call your Congressman and ask that he or she sign the Discharge Petition in favor of passing a mandatory 72-hour reading period for all non-emergency legislation. Past and future bills, such as the stimulus package and healthcare legislation, should never be passed without Congressmen and citizens being able to read such bills in their entirety.
ISSUE-IN-BRIEF: A Bipartisan bill that would require major legislation to be posted on the web for public review for 72 hours before coming to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives is stalled. Unless Members of Congress from both parties hear from their constituents that they want it passed, it is likely that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have her way and the bill will be buried.
- A Polling Company survey conducted last month found that 95% of Americans agree that members of Congress should not vote on any bill they haven’t read in full.
- A new Zogby poll commissioned by Let Freedom Ring, found that 91percent of those participating want all non-emergency legislation to be posted on the Internet for at least 72 hours before Congress votes on it (see attached news release)
- But the Democrat leaders disagree. They think that if people know what is actually being proposed, they will oppose it, and they say that giving the public and their colleagues a 72 hour “reading period” will slow bills down too much – bills like the massive healthcare reform bill now winding its way through Congress.
- Barack Obama campaigned last year for transparency and openness in government. Yet the House bill, sponsored by 67 Republicans and 31 Democrats, has not only not been brought to a floor vote by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but the Democrat Leadership is doing its best to keep more Democrats from joining a discharge petition to force the bill to the floor.
- In the Senate, a proposed amendment to the Baucus Healthcare bill that would have required a 72 hour “reading period” was defeated last week by a largely party-line vote of 12-11, with only one Democrat, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, voting for it.
- The massive $787 billion stimulus billed passed in February appeared at midnight one night, giving members just 12 hours to read it before a final vote. In June, the $1870 per household global warming tax bill came to the floor just 16 hours after a 316 page amendment was introduced.
- Democrats are not the only offenders. In 2003, when Republicans controlled the Congress they jammed through the huge prescription drug entitlement bill late at night when most members had not had a chance to read it.
- The discharge petition, which will force the bill to the floor of the House over the objections of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her inner circle, needs 218 signatures or a majority of members; it now has 178 signatures, but only five of the 31 Democratic co-sponsors have signed.
According to Rep. Brian Baird, a Democrat and one of the original sponsors of the bill, “If Americans contact their representatives and encourage them to sign this discharge petition, I am confident it will become law.”
And that is what we urge you to do!
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE NEED FOR A 72-HOUR READING PERIOD, PLEASE VISIT THESE WEBSITES:
POLL: AMERICANS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT 72 HOUR CONGRESSIONAL WAITING PERIOD
New Zogby Survey Finds 91 Percent of Americans SUPPORT 72-Hour Review Period For All Major Legislation
West Chester, PA — By a margin of better than nine to one, the American people want Congress to put major legislation on line for 72 hours so the people can review it before they vote to pass it.
A new Zogby poll, commissioned by Let Freedom Ring, found that 91 percent of those participating want all non-emergency legislation to be posted on the Internet for at least 72 hours before Congress votes on it.
“The American people are asserting their right to self-governance. The health care debate is only the latest example of Congress passing major legislation out of the sunlight and the people, on a bi-partisan basis, are tired of it,” Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna said. “Everyone wants increased transparency. The people are willing to read the legislation even if members of Congress aren’t. And they want the opportunity to do it.”
Republicans support the 72-hour waiting period by 96.1 percent along with 94.1 percent of Independents and 83.3 percent of Democrats.
“This poll makes clear that the congressional leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mt., House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and others are increasingly out of touch with the American people and with members of their own party. Among self-described liberals, the strongest level of support still garners an impressive majority of 56.9 percent.”
Let Freedom Ring this week launched a new initiative urging Members of Congress to sign House Resolution 554 to require that all non-emergency legislation be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before it can be considered on the House floor. One hundred seventy eight members (178) have already signed a discharge petition to bring the resolution to the House floor for consideration, leaving only forty (40) members standing in the way.
Information on the initiative and an updated list of resolution signers can be found at www.WeThePeopleCanRead.org.
Let Freedom Ring is a 501 (c)(4) policy organization whose goals are to promote constitutional government, economic freedom and traditional values.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, please contact Dan Wilson or Kevin McVicker at (703) 739-5920.