The allocation of funds to the Electronic Government Fund was not discussed at the House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee mark-up last Thursday. In fact, nothing was discussed. The subcommittee unanimously passed the draft legislation without amendment, and the full committee will consider it this Thursday.
The only way to know that, however, was to wait outside the Capitol from early morning until the mark-up began – an unknown time, as the subcommittee issued a press release Wednesday night that changed the time of the mark-up from 10:30am to “15 minutes after the first series of votes after the Agriculture Appropriations bill is no longer on the House Floor, potentially late morning.” That rescheduled time turned out to be post-2pm.
Eight of us who work with issues addressed in the bill were lucky enough to be allowed into the mark-up, but only after we wasted an entire day sitting outside, not knowing how long we were going to be sitting there. And yes, I mean outside – we were all certainly grateful that the rain held off.
Many more of us were not so lucky, and were turned away despite the wait, as the hearing room was too small to fit all of us. If the subcommittee had held the mark-up in a room with webcasting capabilities, as encouraged by the House Rules for the 112th Congress, none of us would have had to waste our day and more than just eight members of the public would have been able to attend the so-called public meeting.