WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Republicans charged Thursday that the Democratic pledge of bringing transparency to the federal government was an empty promise.
The GOP’s complaint centers on the $789 billion stimulus package and what is actually in the plan which President Obama says will be a shot in the arm to the ailing economy. House Democrats agreed on Tuesday to language that “require the conferees to not record their approval of the final conference agreement unless the text of the agreement has been available at least 48 hours.”
A deal on the stimulus bill was struck Wednesday between the Democratic leadership, centrist Republicans and the Obama administration. Congressional conferees are lawmakers responsible for taking different versions of House and Senate bills and molding them into one measure that can be voted on by both chambers. As of Thursday afternoon, House Republican leadership aide Michael Steel told CNN they still had not seen the full bill. The House is expected to vote Friday on the measure.
“Why would Democratic Leaders want to pass a nearly 800-page bill without giving anyone – including most of their own Members – a chance to read it?” Steel wrote Thursday in a widely distributed e-mail to the media. “Why would they want to spend over a trillion dollars with no oversight or review? Why would they contradict their own votes, recorded in the Congressional Record? What are they hiding from the American people?”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman Nadeam Elshami assured CNN the bill will be posted once it is ready, but added it is critical that the legislation be approved as soon as possible.
“We are committed to passing this legislation that will create or save over 3.5 million jobs,” Elshami said. “The bill will be posted online for review as soon as the legislative drafting is complete in keeping with our commitment to transparency. At a time when we’re losing 20,000 jobs a day, we have no time for delay in sending this jobs bill to President Obama.”