SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN NEWS RELEASE
“When 80 percent of the American people say they do not trust Congress, I believe elected officials should be working to rebuild their trust. One of the ways we can do that is to do a better job of bringing them into the legislative process.
“Over the past few months, I have heard from many Arkansans who are frustrated and lack accurate information on the emerging health care proposals in Congress.
“In response to their requests, today, I am unveiling my plan for greater transparency as the health insurance reform debate moves to the Senate floor.
“Reforming health care in America is one of the most monumental and far-reaching undertakings considered by Congress in decades. I believe Arkansans and all Americans’ participation in this process is critical to our overall success of creating a bill that lowers health care costs and offers access to quality and affordable health care for all Americans.
“My plan for greater transparency would require:
· “Legislative text and complete budget costs from the Congressional Budget Office to be posted on a public website at least 72 hours prior to the first vote to proceed to health reform legislation;
· “The legislative text and complete costs of the health care bill as amended made available to the public for 72 hours prior to the vote on final passage of the Senate bill;
· “The legislative text of all amendments filed and offered for debate on the Senate floor posted on a public website prior to beginning debate on the amendment;
· “The final agreement between the House of Representatives and the Senate, a formal conference report detailing the agreement, and complete costs of the final bill made available to the public for 72 hours prior to the vote on final passage in the Senate.
“The need for greater transparency and public engagement is important, and that’s why I am sending a detailed description of my plan to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid later today. I have reached out to several of my fellow Democratic Senators, who will join me in this effort. Together, we will continue to push for these common-sense proposals.
“At a time when trust in Congress and the U.S. government is unprecedentedly low, we can begin to rebuild the American people’s faith in their federal government through transparency and by actively inviting Americans to participate in the legislative process with these common-sense proposals.”