Congressman’s 72 Hour Rule Suggestion Is Inadequate


In response to the growing support for a discharge petition to force a vote on the Read the Bill bill, Rep. Tim Walz is circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to enforce the already existing 72 hour rule.

The House Rules require that all bills be publicly available for 72 hours prior to consideration. This is rule is frequently waived by the Rules Committee at the behest of leadership and has been for many years. There is no requirement in the “Dear Colleague” letter that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer enforce the rule, simply a suggestion. This is one reason to support the passing the Read the Bill bill over this “Dear Colleague” letter. The 72 hour rule should be written into the Rules, not left to the whim of the leadership.

Another reason to support the Read the Bill bill is that the current, oft-waived 72 hour rule simply states that bills be made publicly available. There is no specification as to what defines “publicly available.” It has always been Sunlight’s belief that public equals online. To ensure that Congress defines public as online Rules need to be altered to specify where bills will be made publicly available. The Read the Bill bill does this by requiring online posting of bills for 72 hours before consideration.

Help us support the 72 hour rule by getting your congressman to support the Read the Bill bill.