Last week, Republicans fast-tracked legislation to curtail funding for National Public Radio after Internet activist James O' Keefe distributed an edited video that appeared to show an NPR fundraising executive making disparaging remarks about the tea party movement, among other things.
(We've ruled two of President Barack Obama's transparency campaign promises as broken, for example.) In defense of the House Republicans, they have worked to keep their promise on transparency, particularly in comparison with Obama, who almost immediately discarded his campaign promise to post legislation online for five days before signing it.And in fact, Obama signed the debt limit increase into law only hours after the Senate passed it on Aug. When it comes to transparency, it's often at the moment when leaders are most tempted to break the promise that it's most important to keep it.Members of Congress almost forced a budget shutdown before coming to a late agreement on April 8.Negotiators from the White House, Senate and House of Representatives reached an agreement in principal on that Friday night and worked through the weekend to draw up formal legislation.Some have noted -- most notably, open government advocates The Sunlight Foundation -- that Speaker of the House John Boehner made other statements during the campaign pledging a 72-hour window before a vote. At least one other bill recently was handled the same way.
The promise we're tracking is from the Republican document "A Pledge to America," and it says three days, not 72 hours.We've been following the House GOP's promise to put the text of bills online at least three days before a vote.As we've noted before (see our previous updates below), the House has sometimes squeaked by, posting a bill very late at night, waiting one day, and voting the next.So we leave the rating on this promise Stalled for now and will monitor how they do with future bills before making a final ruling.It's not an unfamiliar theme: Politicians don't like keeping promises about open government when a quick political victory is within grasp.They argued that having the bill posted -- even briefly -- on three separate days met the terms of House rules adopted at the beginning of the year, which specify that a bill cannot be considered until the third calendar day on which it has been posted.