In the 2010 campaign document "Pledge to America," House Republicans promised to allow the public sufficient time to read bills before lawmakers voted on them. "We will give all representatives and citizens at least three days to read the bill before a vote," the pledge said.
Now the House is in the midst of passing the biggest bill to come through Congress since Republicans took over last January. But the legislation -- the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- was cobbled together on Sunday night and its text released Monday morning as lawmakers raced to finish an agreement before the midnight Tuesday debt ceiling deadline. It is not possible for House GOP leaders to keep their pledge to allow three days of public examination and also pass the bill by midnight Tuesday.
House Speaker John Boehner's office says it just couldn't be avoided. "This legislation is similar to the House-passed Budget Control Act, with three clear and easy-to-understand changes," says Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. "We wish there was time to wait three days, but as a result of Washington Democrats' refusal to offer their own plan, our backs are against the wall -- and the three-day rule has a clear exception for such emergencies."