WASHINGTON, DC – As part of its ongoing effort to bring greater transparency to Congress, the Sunlight Foundation is calling on Congress to give citizens and lawmakers sufficient time to read and debate the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 before bringing the bill for a vote. Sunlight advocates for all legislation to be posted online for a minimum of 72 hours before voting can take place.
Citizens can sign the petition here.
"Congress took a real step yesterday toward legislative transparency, by giving the public access to the proposed bailout legislation by posting it online in advance of floor consideration," said Ellen Miller, executive director and co-founder of the Sunlight Foundation. "But, before the bailout proposal is considered by lawmakers, it must undergo an even more important test: evaluation and assessment by Americans. That's why we are calling on citizens to sign a petition to urge Congress to wait 72 hours between when the bill was first posted online and the actual vote. We believe all legislation should posted online for at least three days before a vote to give lawmakers and citizens sufficient time to review and debate it, and this bill is no exception. This isn't a bill to rename a few courthouses; this bill is Congress's biggest intervention in the economy in decades. This important legislation deserves more time for public scrutiny.”
Speaker Pelosi and the House Financial Services Committee posted the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 as a PDF yesterday in the late afternoon. Late Sunday night, Sunlight posted the text of the legislation PublicMarkup.org, allowing citizens to review and comment on the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry before the House and Senate vote on the measure. The simple-to-use blog-like layout of PublicMarkup.org lets users critique the entire bill or offer views on specific provisions, bringing citizen oversight to the legislation.
Since Sunlight posted the legislative proposals from the Treasury Department and Senator Dodd on PublicMarkup.org last week, citizens flooded the site with hundreds of comments on these iterations of the bailout bill.
The Sunlight Foundation supports, develops and deploys new Internet technologies to make information about Congress and the federal government more accessible to the American people. Through its projects and grant-making, Sunlight serves as a catalyst to create greater political transparency and to foster more openness and accountability in government. Visit SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight's projects, including The Open House Project, EarmarkWatch.org and OpenCongress.org.