Senate Finance Rejects Measure Giving Americans 72 Hours to Review Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Finance Committee today rejected, along party lines, a transparency measure introduced by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) that would give Americans 72 hours to review the text of the Baucus health-care reform bill before it is voted on by the panel. U.S. Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, supported the measure and made the following statement:

“For an issue as important as reforming the nation’s health-care system, surely we can wait a matter of three days so the American people can take a look at what we’re doing and if they really want us to approve it.

“At some point, this bill will be melded, behind closed doors, with another health-care reform bill produced in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. I doubt I’ll be part of that process, so my constituents aren’t going to have any representation in that room. That is not transparency, and that’s what gets the American people up in arms!

“This is the argument that supporters of that process make: ‘It would be confusing for the American people to see exactly what this committee is voting on after all this time and to know how much it will cost because some unknown group of people is then going to take this product, go into a back room, and combine it with the HELP bill.’ Then, voila, we’re going to be expected to discuss the new bill immediately. Our constituents are going to ask, what on earth happened?

“The American people are watching. This is the least we can do for the people we represent. They are our bosses, and they deserve to have some time to understand what we’ve done and how much it costs before this bill is mysteriously massaged into another bill and brought to the Senate floor.”