Ryan Byrnes and Edwin Mora
Friday, February 13, 2009
(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) predicted on Thursday that none of his Senate colleagues would “have the chance” to read the entire final version of the $790-billion stimulus bill before the bill comes up for a final vote in Congress.
“No, I don’t think anyone will have the chance to [read the entire bill],” Lautenberg told CNSNews.com.
The final bill, crafted by a House-Senate conference committee, was posted on the Website of the House Appropriations Committe late Thurday in two PDF files.
The first PDF was 424 pages long and the second PDF was 575 pages long, making the total bill 999 pages long. The House is expected to vote on this 999-page bill Friday, and the Senate either later Friday or Saturday. [Editor’s note: The first PDF, as posted on the House Appropriations Committee website as of 8:20 AM Friday morning, had grown by 72 pages to 496 pages, increasing the length of the total document to 1,071 pages.]
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Of the several senators that CNSNews.com interviewed on Thursday, only Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) claimed to have read the entire bill–and he was speaking of the preliminary version that had been approved by the Senate, not the final 999-page version that the House-Senate conference committee was still haggling over on Thursday afternoon.
When CNSNews.com asked members of both parties on Capitol Hill on Thursday whether they had read the full, final bill, not one member could say, “Yes.”
And only one–Voinovich–volunteered that he had actually read the version of the bill that had passed the Senate.
Both Republicans and Democrats told CNSNews.com they were eager to read the unseen bill–once they could get get their hands on a copy of the final legislation.
Nonetheless, members from both sides of the aisle in both the House and Senate admitted they doubted they would have adequate time to read the bill before they actually voted for it.
“Certainly I hope to have the opportunity to go through [the bill] before the vote takes place,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told CNSNews.com. “But that’s something I’ve found doesn’t always happen around here.”
This article was posted: Friday, February 13, 2009 at 10:31 am