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Rep. Gary Peters Introduces Bill to Implement Real 72-Hour Rule

Friday, April 15, 2011 

CONTACT: Clark Pettig
Office: (202) 225-5802


Rep. Gary Peters Introduces Bill to Implement Real 72-Hour Rule
Republican Rules Allow House to Duck 72 Hour Promise
Budget, NPR and Shutdown Bills Pass Without 72 Hours of Review

Washington, DC – Despite years of talk about ensuring that Americans have 72 hours to read and review legislation, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has failed to live up to its own campaign promises – and on Friday, Representative Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced legislation to finally enforce a real 72-hour rule in the House.

Instead of adopting their widely-discussed ‘72-hour rule,’ Republican leaders have enacted a much less arduous rule calling for only three calendar days between the introduction of legislation and a vote – a key difference that they have exploited repeatedly to rush through controversial bills in less than the full 72 hours.

On Friday, Representative Gary Peters introduced legislation (H.Res. 230) to officially change House Rules to require the full 72-hour review period before bills can be brought to the floor for a vote.

Only in Washington will politicians find a way for three days to take less than seventy-two hours, but that’s exactly what’s House Republican leadership has done,” said Rep. Gary Peters. “The American people were promised seventy-two hours to read and review bills before a vote, but instead Republicans are using a ‘three day rule’ that lets them rush through bills in far less time. If you say seventy-two hours, you should mean seventy-two hours, and this kind of political double-speak is why Americans feel Washington is out of touch.”

Under current Republican rules for the House, a bill can be introduced on Monday evening and receive a vote as early as Wednesday morning, far less time than a full seventy-two hours.

For example, if the House had followed a 72-hour rule for the compromise Continuing Resolution yesterday, the vote could not have occurred until 1:45 AM on Friday at the earliest. Instead the vote took place at 3:06 PM on Thursday – slightly more than 61 hours after the bill was introduced.

The bills to defund National Public Radio and the controversial Government Shutdown Prevention Act (which would have deemed H.R. 1 into law without Senate or White House approval) also both passed the House in fewer than seventy-two hours.

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan government watchdog group, has thoroughly documented Speaker John Boehner’s public calls for a seventy-two hour rule, as well as the repeated violations of that rule under the new Congress. Throughout the 111th Congress, then-Minority Leader Boehner repeatedly called for a minimum of seventy-two hours for all legislation to be posted online.

Boehner’s website even still includes a page highlighting his fight to pass the seventy-two hour rule.

Representative Gary Peters has made transparency and accountability in Congress a top priority. He voted in favor of implementing a seventy-two hour rule for the House during the health care debate and he has fought for increased transparency in individual Congressional offices. Peters introduced legislation this year to require Members of Congress to publicly post their own office expenses on their official websites so that constituents can see how their money is being spent.

On the Web
Speaker John Boehner’s Support for a Seventy-Two Hour Rule

The Sunlight Foundation – Background on Seventy-Two Hour Rule

VIDEOS: Boehner Supports Seventy-Two Hour Rule

House Rules – Specifying Three Days instead of Seventy-Two Hours
4. (a)(1) Except as specified in subparagraph (2), it shall not be in order to consider in the House a measure or matter reported by a committee until the third calendar day (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays except when the House is in session on such a day) on which each report of a committee on that measure or matter has been available to Members, Delegates, and the Resident Commissioner.

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