And now they've come up with the most massive spending bill ever. Both houses are going to vote on it today. And by last night, no one had actually read the telephone book-size bill. In fact, as Paul Bedard of US News reports, interest groups have seen more of the bill than congressional staffers or their bosses.
We're receiving E-mails from Capitol Hill staffers expressing frustration that they can't get a copy of the stimulus bill agreed to last night at a price of $789 billion. What's more, staffers are complaining about who does have a copy: K Street lobbyists. E-mails one key Democratic staffer: "K Street has the bill, or chunks of it, already, and the congressional offices don't. So, the Hill is getting calls from the press (because it's leaking out) asking us to confirm or talk about what we know—but we can't do that because we haven't seen the bill. Anyway, peeps up here are sort of a combo of confused and like, 'Is this really happening?'" Reporters pressing for details, meanwhile, are getting different numbers from different offices, especially when seeking the details of specific programs.With a totally arbitrary date of passing this bill by President's Day, they're scheduled to vote for this monstrosity even though no one will have actually read it. We'll be finding out what little nuggets the Democrats have inserted into the bill for months. Didn't these guys learn when they passed TARP in such a god-awful hurry last year and now have regretted at their leisure?
Worse, there seem to be several different versions of what was agreed upon, with some officials circulating older versions of the package that seems to still be developing. Leadership aides said that it will work out later today and promised that lawmakers will get time to review the bill before Friday's vote.
And don't forget. After they pass this mess, they'll get down to whatever Geitner will decide we need to add for TARP II. I'm sure that the auto companies will be back when their money from December runs out - probably in about a month. And they haven't even come close to passing the regular budget. What a mess this all is! This is no way to pass the biggest spending bill ever in our nation's history.
UPDATE: Sundries Shack computes how many words per minute our Congressmen would have to be reading if they were going to actually read this monstrosity that they'll be voting on.
Today’s version of the bill clocks in at 1,434 pages and that’s not the final version. What Congress will likely vote on tomorrow (because President Obama has practically demanded that he sign it on Monday) is likely going to be larger.Of course, they're not going to read this thing. And their aides aren't going to read it either. Most probably, not one single person has read the entire bill all the way through. For that reason alone, they should insist on more time. If your senator or congressman votes for this bill, make sure to ask them if they read what they voted on before they voted. If they're honest, they'll have to admit that they did not. Then ask them why they should be reelected when they vote to commit our country into the biggest spending bill ever without reading the entire bill. There is no answer except that they just did what their party leaders (who probably haven't read anything close to the entire bill themselves either) told them to. No one in the White House will probably have read the entire thing by Monday when Obama has his fancy signing celebration.
There is no chance in the world that any member of Congress is going to be able to read the bill by morning unless they are a trained speed reader. Even then, they’re not going to know the full ramifications of what the bill contains. I’ll do some back of the envelope calculations to prove it.
Let’s start with two generous assumptions: that the bill remains at 1,434 pages, and it gets in the hands of your member of Congress at 8 PM. Let’s also assume that there are about 350 words on each page
In order for anyone to read the entire bill in 13 hours, they’d have to start the very minute they got it and read over 1.8 pages a minute every minute, without a break. They’ll be clocking in at a reading speed of 640.5 words per minute at that rate. If anyone needs a potty break, they’d better take the bill with them. Forget eating. (link via Instapundit)
And, of course, the Democrats are going back on the promise that they just made to give people 48 hours to read the bill before they voted on it.
The Democrats finally made the bill's language available around 11 p.m. Thursday, approximately 10 hours before members meet Friday to consider the bill and 38 hours short of the time promised Americans to review the bill.