Miracles and wonders, my friends. Miracles and wonders indeed. Among the various campaign promises made by Barack Obama during the roughly two decade long 2008 presidential race, one of the first to get chucked under the bus after he took office was his promise to post all bills online for five days before signing them. This, supposedly, would give the public time to read them and comment. It was a nice idea, but I don’t know that’s it’s even been done once since he took office. Plus, as many have pointed out, it’s not all that useful either. Once the bill reaches his desk it’s not going to change unless he vetoes it.
Now, apparently, the administration is owning up to the broken promise and looking at changing the timing of the publication cycle.
Now, in a tacit acknowledgment that the campaign pledge was easier to make than to fulfill, the White House is changing its terms. Instead of starting the five-day clock when Congress passes a bill, administration officials say they intend to start it earlier and post the bills sooner.
“In order to continue providing the American people more transparency in government, once it is clear that a bill will be coming to the president’s desk, the White House will post the bill online,” said Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman. “This will give the American people a greater ability to review the bill, often many more than five days before the president signs it into law.”
They aren’t committing themselves to exactly how far in advance the bills will be posted, of course, but half a loaf is better than none as they say. If there is an army of bloggers out there reading the bills before they come to a vote, there could be actual time for feedback to be provided and the perpetrators might be shamed into taking some of the more odious passages out.
And hey… I’m not getting my hopes up here, but just imagine. If we’re all reading the bills before they come to a vote, might our legislators begin doing the same? Oh, who am I kidding? We’ll all have free unicorns and puppies in our garages first.