The headline at CNS News says it all: “Who Read 1,582-Page $1.1T Spending Bill? Congressman: ‘Nobody Did’”
When asked whether he read the 1,528-page, $1.1 trillion government spending bill before he voted for it yesterday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said, “Nobody did!”
On Capitol Hill on Thursday, CNSNews.com asked Blumenauer: “The omnibus bill yesterday, it was 1,582 pages, did you have a chance to read all the pages before voting on it?”
Blumenauer laughed and said: “Nobody did!”
“Nobody did?” said the CNSNews.com reporter.
“Nope,” said Blumenauer.
In an e-mail to CNSNews.com, Blumenauer’s communications director, Patrick Malone, said: “A reminder that the Republicans complained and complained about not having time to read bills when the Dems were in charge and then keep dropping bombs like this on us.”
I don’t doubt the bipartisan nature of the problem, but it is not as if a majority, or even a large minority, of the Republicans read the bill either. It was “dropped” by a small number of Congressmen on the rest, and even those Congressmen had staffers who dealt with the actual text. As far as we know, no elected official had read the entire document before voting on it.
In fact, it may only have been two Congressmen who dealt with drafting the bill, and one of them was a Democrat—Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray. Yet when defending a part of the budget, Ryan protested that he didn’t write that provision.
So are we supposed to believe that our laws are truly random? That over a trillion dollars just somehow gets budgeted without anyone really knowing where it is going?
I’ll grant that in the case of the Affordable Care Act, enough people may have been so arrogant or so distracted that no one really knew what was in it. Maybe. But that can’t be the norm.
We have every reason to believe that staffers working with lobbyists or lobbyists working with staffers wrote that bill. We just have no idea who they are or what secret surprises they have slipped into it.
Neither does anyone in Congress.