Yesterday’s Vote Broke 72 Hour Pledge


Yesterday the House Republicans voted on a bill to defund National Public Radio without providing 72 hours for the public to review the bill. This violates a pledge that Speaker John Boehner made repeatedly that he would require every bill to be made available for at least 72 hours online and in public.

I explained this in a post yesterday:

Earlier this year the House Republicans changed the House Rules to implement a Read the Bill rule that stating that bills must be available on three calendar days prior to consideration. Sunlight was very pleased to see the new House Rules incorporate language that strengthens the public’s ability to see legislation online before votes. We’ve also recognized that this rule might be artfully evaded through a variety of means, one of which is the “calendar day” definition.

In the case of today’s vote, the bill technically meets the House Rules as passed in January, but could, if voted on prior to a 72 hour period expiring (approximately 8 AM on Friday), violate the numerous pledges made by Speaker Boehner and other Republican leaders to provide a public, 72 hour window for all legislation.

The bill was voted on yesterday afternoon and, thus, violated Boehner’s pledge. To be more accurate, the pledge was violated even before the vote as the 72 hours of public review should end at the beginning of debate, which, on the NPR defunding bill, began yesterday morning.

Sunlight has previously stated our concerns about ways that the majority could circumvent this pledge and the rule, which does not mirror the pledge, implemented earlier this year. It is a bit surprising that the pledge was initially broken in this unnecessary manner, especially after Boehner being so emphatic and specific about the 72 hour time frame.