In a press conference Thursday, the House Republican leadership spoke candidly about being kept out of the House-Senate conference on the Obama-Pelosi-Reid so-called “economic stimulus” bill. They confirmed they had not yet seen the text of the bill as of 4 p.m.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was unsure how many Democrats would vote with Republicans again on this bill but that he thought Republicans “may get a few” Democrats to side with them. The fact that the Demos have now broken their promise to have the public able to see the bill for 48 hours may drive more Dems into the Republican camp.
“[I] don’t know, ‘cause they haven’t seen the bill either,” Boehner said.
“The American people have a right to know what’s in this bill,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind) told HUMAN EVENTS after the press conference. “Every member of Congress -- Republicans and Democrats -- voted to post this bill on the internet for 48 hours, 48 hours ago. We’ll see if the Democrats keep their word.”
Actually -- as of 5:15 pm, the Democrats had broken their word. The stimulus bill -- which we still haven’t seen -- will be released late tonight and will be brought up on the House floor at 9 am tomorrow.
The following statement was released by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at 4:57 p.m.:
"The House is scheduled to meet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow and is expected to proceed directly to consideration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment conference report. The conference report text will be filed this evening, giving members enough time to review the conference report before voting on it tomorrow afternoon."
Meanwhile, at an earlier presser Thursday, Pelosi -- while talking about legislation regarding school construction funds -- said it was vital to see the language of a bill before making decisions. ReadtheStimulus.org had the following quote:
“With all of this you have to see the language. You said this --- I said that --- I understood it to be this way --- you know, we wanted to see it in writing and when we did that then we were able to go forward."
"Around here language means a lot. Words weigh a ton and one person's understanding of a spoken description might vary from another's. We wanted to see it. And not only just I had to see it, I had to show it to my colleagues and my caucus. We wanted to take all the time that was necessary to make sure it was right."
Congressional members are also exchanging barbs via the popular social network Twitter. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) twittered, "Don't know when we're going to vote. Will the no votes delay vote just because they can? Speed is important. They know that."
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) twittered back, “Those in favor of speed over commonsense may just be afraid of letting the People know what they are ramming through.”
UPDATE: The Democrats finally made the bill's language available around 11 p.m. Thursday, approximately 10 hours before members meet Friday to consider the bill and 38 hours short of the time promised Americans to review the bill.