October 07, 2009

Crapo: Put It On The Internet

Joins colleagues demanding a 72-hour review for legislation before the Senate

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo joined several of his Senate colleagues today to demand changes in Senate rules so that final committee votes not be rushed before the public has a chance to review the content and costs of proposals before the chamber. Crapo said it is critical that Senators and the public be able to fully review and understand the impacts of legislation such as the draft health care proposals before Congress.

Crapo supported plans written by Senator Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky) that would amend Senate rules to require that legislation be posted on the Internet for public review and that no vote be taken for 72 hours after the language is scored by the Congressional Budget Office. The transparency proposal comes as a new Rasmussen poll reveals that 83% of those asked say Congress should post legislation online so the public can review it prior to any final votes.

"This health care proposal affects one-sixth of our entire economy," Crapo noted. "Why would anyone oppose rules that increase the transparency of what we do in Congress? We have been debating health care proposals that have yet to be finalized; we are considering huge tax increases on middle and lower income families related to health care and we don't even have a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on how much these proposals will cost. We need to slow down and try and get this right."

The Rasmussen Poll showed universal support among Republicans and Democrats who responded to the idea. Only 6% of those asked thought it was a bad idea to post legislation on the Internet for public review.

Crapo noted that CBO needs final language of a bill to score it. He said Idahoans deserve answers to the many questions he hears on health reform: Will I be able to keep my health insurance? How will this proposal affect employees and small business owners? How much would my taxes go up and how will the value of my insurance plan affect that? Will the IRS be contacting me about my insurance?

"You can recall some of those long nights when we were putting together the omnibus appropriations bills," Crapo told reporters during a news conference today. "We often did not see those bills until very shortly before they were brought to the floor. Many of us objected, and insisted that process be halted. Both parties should recognize and honor the principle that we should have the legislation before us with adequate time to review it.

"Most Idahoans have indicated they oppose a government takeover of our health care system," Crapo added. "By posting the draft legislation, along with its impacts and costs on the Internet, they can make an even more informed decision about how to reform health care here in Congress. This input will help guide our decision-making on this and other critical issues."