Nobody Read the Stimulus Bill
James W. Harris
The massive $787 billion 2009 “stimulus” bill — possibly the largest spending bill in U.S. history — was received by all Congressional members at 11 p.m. Thursday evening, cardiologist February 12.
The gigantic bill was 1,073 pages long, with an additional 421 page Explanatory Statement. Further, portions of the bill consisted of hand-written last-minute insertions.
As the small-government lobbying group Downsize DC notes, the bill is filled with:
* Hand-written copy-editing;
* Insertions scrawled in the margins;
* Typographical deletions of whole paragraphs;
* And “a variety of curious hash marks and other annotations.”
Yet a mere 15 hours later, around 4 pm, the U.S. House passed it — appropriately enough, on Friday 13th.
The Senate passed it just 3 hours and 5 minutes later.
Yes, that’s right. Congress passed this complex, far-reaching, revolutionary bill in a matter of hours, without taking enough time to even learn what was in it, let alone read it, or even read most of it.
The conservative Heritage Foundation declared: “[N]ever have we seen a bill more cloaked in secrecy or more withdrawn from open public exposure and honest debate.”
Downsize DC points out this happened despite:
* President Obama’s repeated campaign promises of transparency in government, including a pledge not to sign bills that aren’t posted online for the public to read for at least five days before the final vote is cast.
* Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s promise that the final version of the stimulus bill would be posted online for at least 48 hours before the vote.