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Cole: Give American People 72-Hours to Read Major Bills before Vote

September 25, 2009
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) added his name to a discharge petition calling for House Democratic leadership to give members of Congress - and the public - at least 72 hours to look over major legislation before it is voted on.

"This year a budget-busting 'stimulus' bill and a 'cap-and-tax' on energy have been rushed through the House," Congressman Cole said.  "While I voted 'no' on both of these bills, I'm sure some members of Congress rubber-stamped the legislation without reading it.  We need to give more time for the American people and their representatives to read the language of major bills.  This way, Congress will be better informed and hopefully stop the trend of hyper-legislating.  With our country facing a record deficit and working to recover from an economic downturn, we cannot afford to make rushed and uninformed decisions on legislation."

A discharge petition is a legislative tool used to bring a bill to the floor for consideration after it has been held in committee for more than thirty days.  After the petition receives 218 signatures, it is placed on the Discharge Calendar where it remains for seven days, giving the original committee of jurisdiction the time to act.  If there is no action by the committee after that timeframe the petition will be considered by the House.  Finally, if the petition is approved, the original bill will either be considered immediately or added to the schedule of one of the legislative calendars. 

This discharge petition was drafted by Rep. Greg Walden (OR- 2), Rep. Brian Baird (WA-3) and Rep. John Culberson (TX-7).