Last week, Jake wrote that “it is utterly imperative that the final version of the bill be online for the public to view for at least 72 hours.” The House Majority just announced that they will do just that (via #HealthReformNow):
Pelosi and Hoyer say final health reform bill will be online for 72 hours before House vote so Members and Americans can review #hcr
This is a great development and another big win for those who have called for the bill to be available to the public for 72 hours throughout this whole process. The Sunlight Foundation has called for the health care bill to be available to the public for 72 hours at each point that versions have come to the floor. In each of these instances the majority has acquiesced and posted each version, from the House bill to the Senate bill, for at least 72 hours prior to consideration. Those of you who have signed the Read the Bill petition and put the pressure on Congress to be this transparent have been vital in ensuring that we have access to this major bill before lawmakers consider, debate and vote on it.
Earlier this week, Ellen explained the importance of the 72 hour requirement:
Think of posting something on line for 3 days as a ‘safety valve’ – a final chance for citizens, media, lawmakers and lobbyists alike to look at the whole package giving everyone one last opportunity to raise questions and concerns about the bill. If readers are in an advocacy mode they have time to mobilize others in support or opposition, and/or take action in whatever form they see fit.
There is no measure more important to debate in the open than health care, and this is a moment when we all need to be champions for public, online disclosure and engage with our government. With 72 hours, the buck can actually stop with citizens the way our Founders intended. We know that Congress do it because congressional leadership has already done so at other critical points in this debate.
Of course, we still need to make sure that this promise is kept and that won’t be done until the bill has been online for 72 hours and then brought to the floor. Let’s keep it up.