Fed up with GOP secrecy on Obamacare repeal, Rand Paul introduces ‘Read the Bills’ resolution

Fed up with GOP secrecy on Obamacare repeal, Rand Paul introduces ‘Read the Bills’ resolution
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a resolution on Wednesday that would require his fellow lawmakers to have ample time to read a bill before it was voted on. (Getty Images)

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul introduced a Senate resolution called “Read the Bills” Wednesday that would require every bill or amendment to be filed for a minimum of one day for every 20 pages before they can be considered by the upper chamber.

“Enough with rushed, secret legislation! Today I reintroduced my Read the Bills resolution,” Paul tweeted Wednesday.

The purpose of the resolution, according to Paul, is to make sure that his fellow senators have ample time to review bills before they can be voted on. The resolution would allow the Senate to waive the minimum time requirement only with “an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the members.”

Paul said his resolution stemmed from what he considered the GOP leadership’s secrecy about the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare before it was released on Thursday.

“Legislation is too often shoved through Congress without proper hearings, amendments, or debate, as the secrecy surrounding the Senate’s health care bill and the pressure to vote for it with little time to fully evaluate the proposal once again remind us,” Paul said in a news release. “If we are to answer to the American people, it is imperative we pay close attention to the legislation we pass.

“I stand by my pledge to increase transparency and accessibility in the U.S. Senate,” Paul said, “and my resolution will give members ample time to read all legislation before they vote.”

This is the second time Paul has introduced a bill to extend legislators’ time to review bills before a big vote. Paul introduced the “Read the Bills Act” in 2015, which would have required lawmakers to be present at the reading of bills or have read it themselves. Legislators would also be required to sign an affidavit, executed under the penalty of perjury, saying that they have read and understand a bill to be voted on.

The 2015 bill stalled in the Senate Rules Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been pressing for a vote on the Senate health care bill to occur before July 4, but with the text of the bill having just been released Thursday morning, that could be a difficult goal to reach. Paul told CNN that he wouldn’t vote for anything that looks like the House’s AHCA bill.

Other Republican senators have joined Paul in voicing their frustrations about the secrecy that surrounded the Senate bill.

According to CNN, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins said, “Until I see the bill and the (Congressional Budget Office) assessment of the bill, I’m not going to feel comfortable taking a position.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who was supposed to be involved in crafting the Senate’s health care bill, voiced his frustrations about the secrecy surrounding the bill’s creation during a Facebook video. 

“It has become increasingly apparent in the last few days that even though we thought we were going to be in charge of writing the bill within this working group, it’s not being written by us,” Lee said. “It’s apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate. So if you’re frustrated by the lack of transparency in this process, I share your frustration.”

And Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he would refuse to vote for a bill he hasn’t had time to read.

“If I don’t get to read it, I don’t vote for it. If I don’t get to study it, I don’t vote for it,” Cassidy said.

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