Bipartisan Group Pushes for 72-Hour Review of Bills

Posted September 23, 2009 at 4:23pm

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) teamed up with Republicans on Wednesday on a discharge petition to force a vote on a bill that would require a 72-hour review period before the House could vote on legislation.The measure, sponsored by Baird and Reps. John Culberson (R-Texas) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.), would require Democratic leaders to post all legislation online three days before a vote. Once it has enough signatures, the discharge petition would release the bill from committee, where it has languished since June, and send it directly to the floor for a vote.Baird acknowledged that the move bucks his party leaders but said he is backing the petition out of frustration with the little amount of time historically spent on the most important bills. He said he did not tell Democratic leaders that the discharge petition was coming.“The discharge petition is the vehicle by which the Membership speaks,— Baird said. “We’re not asking permission of our leadership. We’re not asking them to put it on the schedule.—In terms of the amount of time Democratic leaders have spent on bills in this Congress, Baird said the year “started better, but there have been some troubling exceptions.— He suggested more time should have been spent on climate change and Medicare prescription drug legislation. A 72-hour review period, he said, will be a “dramatic improvement— in the legislative process.The discharge petition has 98 co-sponsors; it will need 218 signatures to force a floor vote on the bill. Baird said he didn’t expect party leaders to hold a grudge against Democrats who sign onto the petition.“Leadership’s going to get over it,— Baird said. “I think leadership will embrace it.— Still, when asked if he planned to call Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to see if she embraced his idea, Baird said, “No.—