Last week the Senate Finance committee turned down an amendment that would have required a the Obamacare bill to be posted on the internet and a 72 hour waiting time before it was voted on so the congress and the public could read the bill. The amendment was turned down because the Democrats thought it was a stalling tactic. The latest Rasmussen survey reports that it isn’t a delaying tactic but the will of the people.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of U.S. voters say legislation should be posted online in final form and available for everyone to read before Congress votes on it. The only exception would be for extreme emergencies.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds only six percent (6%) of voters disagree with this approach while 10% are not sure.
Of those who favor posting congressional bills in their final form on the Internet, 64% say they should be available to the public two weeks or more before Congress votes and 29% favor posting bills one week before a vote. Just four percent (4%) think three days before a congressional vote is soon enough, while one percent (1%) say one day is enough.
Democrats, Republicans and independents all agree that bills should be available for public review. Eighty-five percent of Republicans, 76% of Democrats and 92% of voters independents favor posting non-emergency bills online for the public to read before they are voted on by Congress.
Right now, Republicans in the House are trying to force a vote on a measure that would require that pending bills be posted online for three days before that chamber votes on them. A few Democrats have joined the effort, but, according to news reports, their party leaders are fighting the bill which they view as a GOP delaying tactic. There is certainly room for cynicism about the GOP’s allegiance to this particular reform at this time. Members of both parties often raise procedural issues when it works to their advantage and oppose them when it doesn’t. However, the poll question did not mention the health care legislation but applied to all legislation. The results suggest that an overwhelming majority of voters consider such procedures as little more than common sense.
A majority of all Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters all support posting the legislation in final form at least two weeks in advance of any vote.
Eighty-eight percent (88%) of voters say they are following news stories about the health care debate, with 59% following very closely. Only two percent (2%) say they are not following news about the debate at all.
Republicans have been complaining all year that the Democratic majority leadership are rushing lengthy, complicated legislation like the $787-billion economic stimulus bill through the House and Senate without giving legislators adequate time to even read them.
Before the stimulus vote, 58% said most members of Congress would not understand what is in the plan before they voted on it. And even a prominent Democratic senator complained that that would happen, given the way their party leadership rushed the plan through Congress.
“Increasing transparency was also one of President Obama’s major goals,” the New York Times reports. “When he took office he pledged to make bills passed by Congress publicly available for at least five days before signing them, though that has rarely happened in his eight-month tenure.”
Only 16% of voters now give Congress good or excellent ratings for its performance, while 53% say it’s doing a poor job. Being a member of Congress is now viewed as the least respected job one can hold in America out of a list of nine professions