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GUEST COMMENTARY: Congress should give public a chance to read bills in advance

Sunday, October 18, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 10:59 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In an era when communication is instantaneous and information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there is no excuse for Congress not to provide the details of important legislation before they cast votes on behalf of the people they represent. Knowledge is power and our Constitution specifically puts power in the hands of you, the people of this country.

There is a lot of concern about the failure of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the liberal majority to allow hard-working Americans to have the time to review staggeringly expensive legislation that is paid for with your taxpayer dollars.

How to contact the congressman

As always, I encourage you to visit our Web site at luetkemeyer.house.gov. I also encourage you to call our offices in Columbia 886-8928, Washington, Mo. (636) 239-2276, or Hannibal 231-1012 with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit our YouTube site and our Facebook page.


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I am so angered and disappointed as I know you are when you are left in the dark about legislation until it passes Congress. For these reasons, I have co-sponsored legislation requiring major bills to be available for public review three days before the House of Representatives votes on them.

Taxpayers have a right to review how government plans to spend their hard-earned dollars, and for the government to refuse to do that is simply wrong. It is also my firm belief that hasty votes in Congress can result in unintended consequences that could be devastating to hard-working folks trying to make ends meet. It’s just common sense that the American people should be given time to read major bills before they come to a vote in Congress to see how they might be affected.

People would certainly have a stronger voice if House rules required all major bills to be posted online publicly for at least 72 hours before they are brought to a vote on the House floor. People are frustrated that the pork-laden stimulus package, debt-laden budget, and job-killing national energy tax were rammed through the House and this measure would give you a chance to read and react to legislation.

You are owed the respect of being allowed to read the bill for yourself and form your own judgments. Failure to provide that information leads people to believe that this administration and Congress have something to hide, and that runs contrary to our democratic principles.

Blaine Luetkemeyer is the representative for Missouri's 9th Congressional District.

 


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Comments

John Schultz October 18, 2009 | 9:34 p.m.

Will Congressman Leutkemeyer support DownsizeDC.org's Read the Bills Act that calls for such a provision (well, actually seven days) and more?

http://www.downsizedc.org/etp/campaigns/...

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote October 19, 2009 | 11:02 a.m.

This is certainly a good idea. I'd like it to go one step further. It would be informative if in addition to the posted bill, there was a list of all the Representatives and the contributions they received from parties that will be affected by the pending legislation. So for example, the Insurance industry has given Mr. Luetkemeyer $50,500, Health Professionals have contributed $27,900, and Misc Health have donated $14,500 (http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/i...)
I would like to know to what extent his votes on upcoming health care initiatives are influenced by these campaign contributions? I think in a truly representative democracy, legislators should have to recuse themselves from voting when they have received funds from entities that will be affected by the pending legislation.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock October 19, 2009 | 3:58 p.m.

Get real Chris, both sides receive money from groups. The left gets money for left leaning groups like moveon.org. Or how about labor laws and Unions. Should the President resend the bill aimed at limiting Chinese tire imports since a large portion of his campaign funds came from Unions? Technically wouldn't both the President and Blaine be representing their constituents? While you may not like insurance agents they are citizens.

(Report Comment)

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