Public Will Have Little Time To Examine Massive Spending Bill

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — Even if the details of the massive $1.1 trillion spending bill being crafted by Congress are made public sometime Tuesday, there won’t be much time to examine it before lawmakers vote on the measure.

Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats continued into Tuesday on the omnibus/continuing resolution package. Both parties are trying to come to a deal to pass legislation by Thursday’s deadline to keep the government from shutting down.

The package is expected to fund most government agencies, except for the Department of Homeland Security, through September. DHS, under the plan being considered, would only be funded through early next year so conservatives could use a fight over the agency’s funding to debate President Obama’s immigration executive order.

The public will likely have less than 60 hours to go through the plan if the details are released Tuesday.

Is that enough time under the previous standard set by Republicans?

Speaker John Boehner, for example, has spoken out before on the need for “adequate time” to release the details of such bills before lawmakers vote on them.

“If Democratic leaders plan to schedule a vote on the half-trillion dollar omnibus spending bill next week,” Boehner said in 2009, “they should post the legislation online immediately so the American people have adequate time to read the measure and understand what is in it…Time is running short, and American taxpayers deserve to know how their hard-earned tax dollars will be used under this legislation.”

And in the Republican Party’s 2010 “Pledge to America,” the GOP 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 in the House of Representatives. No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.”

Reached by The Daily Caller Tuesday, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel insisted that the spending bill will abide by those rules. “Any action on the CR/Omnibus legislation will conform to the House’s three-day rule,” he said.

That means in order to vote on the measure by the Thursday deadline, Republicans will count partial Tuesday, a full day Wednesday and partial Thursday as three days.

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