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- Republicans bypassed the “three-day rule” to pass their massive spending bill in less than 24 hours after its release.
- The hasty push to pass the 2,232-page bill means members could not have read it beforehand.
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed their $1.3 trillion spending package to fund the government on Thursday, less than 24 hours after releasing the text of the bill. In doing so, they once again bypassing their “three-day rule” to provide ample time for members to actually read it.
The House three-day rule was part of Republicans’ 2010 “Pledge to America,” in which they promised to give “at least three days to read the bill before a vote.”
“We will make sure that the floor schedule and operations reflect the priority of revitalizing the economy, and ensure there is an open process that makes it easier – not harder – to eliminate unnecessary spending on any legislation that spends the people’s money,” the pledge read.
But the spending bill, which is expected to add roughly $1.7 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade, passed the House a mere 17 hours after its 8 p.m. release Wednesday night.
Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, the top Republican on the House Rules Committee, told Business Insider that the process by which the spending bill was crafted was long and bipartisan, but “once that was done, we did run into problems.”
“There was discussion – Republicans and Democrats on the Senate side – that this was designed to pass,” Sessions said. “It was not designed the best way in my mind for transparency and for people to know what was in it.”
“So three days? Yes it bothers me. It bothers me a lot,” Sessions added. “The whole process. But our appropriations guys did their job on a bipartisan basis, on a bicameral basis. And because of timing, it became a problem.”
Rep. Jim Renacci, a Republican from Ohio, said the process moved too hastily. He noted the impossibilities of going through such a large bill in less than one day.
“I’m gonna say is that for me, a 2,200-page bill is very tough to understand and read,” Renacci said. “And I was in the business world for 30 years. I wouldn’t sign a 100-page contract in 24 hours notice. So that’s just my concern. I look at things a lot different being a business guy.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan shrugged off the notion that it was not a transparent process. He said that “by and large we’ve done a phenomenal job” with developing the spending plan.
“This has been a monthlong process and the negotiations took longer, why? Because we had to negotiate with Democrats and with the Senate,” Ryan told reporters on Wednesday. “So those took a little longer than we had anticipated. But we have a deadline that we have to move up against. And we don’t wanna see a shutdown in the meantime.”
As to why the House could not pass a continuing resolution into the weekend to give members ample time to read the bill, Ryan said because they want to meet the Friday deadline.
“Also we have a member who passed away whose funeral is tomorrow and we wanna be sensitive to that as well,” he added, noting the recent death of New York Rep. Louise Slaughter.