In a blog post announcing the President’s signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of legislation he has signed, we are informed that the bill has been posted on the White House web site and is now open for comment… after the President signed it.
For quite some time President Obama has promised that all non-emergency legislation will be open for public comment on Whitehouse.gov for 5 days before the President signs it. I am not sure what constitutes “emergency” legislation; providing emergency appropriations in response to a disaster or attack would apply. This was supposed to be a major element to the President’s transparency efforts, even though the effect of it can be disputed (the bill has already passed and can’t be changed). A blog post from the White House on January 20th say this:
One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.
It is too bad they let this transparency promise slip on the very first piece of legislation that hit the President’s desk. After a few transparency wins for the administration, it looks like they’ve hit their first fail.