Senate Votes Against Transparency
Waived point of order that would require Senate to follow the rules, allow proper time to read bills before passage
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Rand Paul today took to the Senate floor to raise a point of order regarding the Senate's violation of Rule 28, paragraph 9, which requires the body to allow 48 hours between public introduction of a conference report and a vote.
Sen. Paul has previously introduced legislation that requires the Senate to allow adequate time to read legislation before its passage.
Currently Congress has about a 10 percent approval rate. One of the reasons is we don't even obey our own rules. For goodness sakes, 600-page bill, and I got it this morning. Not one member of the Senate will read this bill before we vote on it.
We're going to vote on this in the next 30 minutes. I and Senator [Mike] Lee (R-Utah) and others will object to this. We'll have a point of order that our own rules say it has to be posted online for 48 hours. Six-hundred pages, no one will read it.
No wonder our approval rating is10 percent. Nobody knows what we're voting on. In fact, things have been stuck in this bill last night that have nothing to do with any of these bills and they have been stuck in and we're just now discovering it.
I passed two Senators in the hall going back to their office, still trying to get out something that's been written in this bill that affects their states that they found out minutes ago. Had they not found out about it, nobody would have known about it.
Three bills that are in question here: transportation bill, student loan bill. The student loan bill, originally we had the loans at 6 percent, and somehow bringing in money to the treasury. We were using that money to pay for Obamacare. Now it's at 3 percent. That money is gone. Where's the money to pay for Obamacare?
We have a shell game up here. We say one things going to pay for it. Now this is going to pay for it. Money disappears.
Now what they're saying is, they are going to pay for this by taking money out of pensions. Raise your hand if you think it is a good idea to underfund pensions more. Over half of the pensions in this country are technically insolvent because they don't have enough money to pay for them.
Is it a good idea to have less money going into workers' pensions to pay for a student loan program? I have a bill in Congress that says we should read the bills before we pass them.
It says that we should wait one day for each 20 pages, so we'd be given time to read 600-page bills. But at the very least we ought to adhere to our own rules. Our rules say that it should be posted online at least 48 hours. Forty-eight hours is still a challenge to find out everything in here.
You know how long the "federal register" is? It is 55,000 pages added annually. It is hundreds of thousands of pages. So when you read this, you have to refer to the "federal register" that's hundreds of thousands of pages to find out what they've stuck in this bill in the dead of night.
This isn't the way we should operate. The American people wonder why do I would all of a sudden say, the government is going to shut down if we don't do something in three days? Well what were they doing for the previous three months? What's going on up here?
The other side hasn't produce add budget in three years. That's against the rules. The rules of the Senate say you must produce a budget and they didn't do it, for three years. When we presented them with our own budget that we wrote for them, nobody voted for it.
Zero on the other side of the aisle voted for their own President's budget. How are we going to get to compromise if they're not showing up for work?
How are we going to get anything done if they don't obey their own rules? I'm discouraged by this. I will raise a point of order in the next hour that says we have broken the rules of the Senate, and I will ask them to vote on it.
I fully expect the Parliamentarian will rule in our favor. We'll see. But then the other side will simply close their eyes to the rules. They won't care what the Parliamentarian says, and they will just overturn this by saying, "We are the majority and we deem it so. We are the majority, and we don't care what's in the bills. We don't care to take the time to read the bills. We are in the majority, and we deem it so."
I think this is why the American people are unhappy with what's going on in this body. I object strenuously to it.
I will vote against it, and I will raise a point of order that says we should read the bills before we pass them. Thank you, Mr. President.