Times like these are too important for us not to hold government to the highest possible standards.

The House of Representatives is poised to take up debate on a health care bill in the coming weeks that will have a huge impact on each of our lives and our economy. The bad news is that if the last week is any example, it's not clear that we will even know what's in that bill. Indeed, it's not clear if even our representatives will have a chance to read the bill before they vote.

Whatever you think about the "Cap and Trade" bill that was passed by the House last week, or however you feel about health care reform, the process for considering legislation is not as transparent as we need it to be.

I'd bet you'd agree with us: Congress MUST read the bill and ensure that we, the public, have at least 72 hours to do the same.


To be perfectly clear, I'm not here to argue the merits of energy or health care policy. But, I AM demanding that when Congress takes up such far-reaching issues, they MUST have a transparent process that doesn't just include lobbyists and Washington insiders.

The only way our demand is going to be heard is if we mobilize in large enough numbers that Congress can't ignore us. Already, *over 11,000 of you have signed our petition supporting a 72-hour rule, and we need 4,000 more to reach our goal of 15,000 before Congress goes on August recess.

Please join us and ask 3 other concerned friends to do the same. As we saw last week, what is happening in Congress is too important to let them make up their own minds about how they should operate. Unless we demand transparency and accountability, it sure doesn't look like they're going to give it to us.


If you want to read more about what we learned through the Cap and Trade bill process, be sure to check out Paul Blumenthal's insights.

Be careful though; it may get you riled up.

You know what was most frustrating about the process? It's that for the last ten days our staff tried very hard to understand all that happened through the Cap and Trade bill, but nearly couldn't - which made me think about something else that happened last week.

On Friday, the House paid tribute to Michael Jackson in the middle of the debate on the House Floor. It just strikes me that if they really want to pay tribute, they can take a long look at the "man in the mirror," make a change, get this right, and Read the Bill.


ps We'd love for any of you bloggers out there to join our Transparency Bloggers list-serve and help us raise awareness of what's going on with transparency in Congress. We need to be our own watchdogs on this, and your help is going to be critical. Sign up, and then send an intro email to the group: http://groups.google.com/group/transparency-bloggers

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