Finding Bills Online


It would be nice to know why the Government Printing Office takes so long to take a bill and put it online so that I can access it on Thomas. Yesterday, I tried to read the lobbying and ethics reform bill currently being debated on the Senate floor, bill number S. 1, and found that it was not online at Thomas because it takes a day or two for the GPO to print a bill. Of course, S. 1 was introduced last week but the GPO says that it might take longer when a lot of bills are introduced at once (members of the House introduced over 300 bills last week, Senators introduced over 100). Is there some actual explanation for this delay other than aimless bureaucracy and backwards computer technology. If I had just drafted a bill I could post the entire thing on this blog right now, but for some reason Members of Congress cannot post bills immediately online?

It's been four work days and not even a third of the bills in the House have been posted to Thomas and only S. 1 and a couple of other bills related to renaming a recreation area and increasing judicial pay, out of nearly 200 bills in the Senate, have been posted. Last year, Rep. Brian Baird (D-Washington) introduced a resolution, H. Res. 688, that would have required all bills to be placed online 72 hours before a vote. Baird's resolution garnered 34 cosponsors including the Democratic Policy Committee Chair Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.). In the Senate Sen. Barack Obama introduced the CLEAN-UP Act (S. 2179) which also mandated a 72 hour online posting time for bills before they came up for a vote. Obama's legislation attracted nine cosponsors.

If the new House and Senate leadership are serious about changing the way Congress does business this issue should be brought up for debate along with the other ethics reforms that we will probably hear debated on the Senate floor today.