By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S House of Representatives, provided a valuable window on the mindset of the chamber's leadership Tuesday when he all but admitted that few if any members of Congress would read the healthcare reform bill before voting for it.
"If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn't read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes," Hoyer told CNSNews at his regular weekly news conference.
Of course it is not as bad as all that because "... staff and review boards, they read [the bills] in their entirety. They go over it with members, and members read substantial portions of the bill themselves," Hoyer allowed before veering off in another direction.
He was referring to a pledge offered to members of Congress by Let Freedom Ring, where I am a senior fellow, asking them not to vote for any healthcare reform legislation they have not read personally. Hoyer apparently finds the idea that members should read the bills they vote on before they vote humorous, "laughing as he responded to the question," according to the news organization.
"I'm laughing because a) I don't know how long this bill is going to be, but it's going to be a very long bill," he is quoted as saying. Hoyer's audacity in suggesting, laughing as he did—LAUGHING—that a bill to increase the government's control over more than 17 percent of U.S. gross domestic product won't be read by the people who have to vote to approve it because it is too long suggests there are problems with the issue and the process. As Kerri Houston Toloczko, policy director for Conservatives for Patients' Rights said, "If it's too long to read, it's probably too expensive to pass."