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Reading Bills is Overrated

So, you ever wonder how so many crummy laws get introduced and passed? You’ve probably thought to yourself, “Who in their right mind would read this bill and vote for it?” See, there was your first mistake. Reading bills is so turn of the last century.

We live in the thought at the speed of light age. Lawmakers don’t actually need to read bills before voting on them. Need the proof:

There is currently some wacky legislative maneuvering going on with H.R. 2454, the cap and trade energy bill, that puts a serious spotlight on the failure of Congress to make bills properly available. According to the New York Times:

House Democratic leaders late last night released a revamped, 1,201-page energy and global warming bill (pdf), clearing the way for floor debate Friday even though it remains uncertain if they will have the votes to pass it.

The House bill posted on the Rules Committee Web site has grown from the 946-page version adopted last month in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Sources on and off Capitol Hill said the bulk of the changes largely reflect requests from the eight other committees that also had jurisdiction over the bill, including the Ways and Means Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

The bill is only available online at the House Rules Committee and is reported as “text of the bill to be introduced.” Despite having a bill, H.R. 2454, that has been reported out of the Energy & Commerce Committee and discharged by eight other committees, there is now, suddenly, a new bill that is almost 300-pages longer — but it’s still being considered as H.R. 2454. Stay with me here.

Want to get really annoyed? Go check out the bill’s timeline.