During the Obamacare debate in 2010, congressional Republicans frequently criticized Democrats for not reading the full bill, alleging that the health care law was a bill “written in the dark of night and rushed through Congress” before being fully vetted.
In response, the House GOP implemented a new rule in 2010 mandating that all bills be posted online for three full days before receiving a vote. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) even celebrated it on Twitter:
New House GOP rules will force all bills to be online for three days before a vote. Huge win for the Read The Bill effort.— Rep. Greg Walden (@repgregwalden) December 22, 2010
Seven years later, Republicans are set to directly violate the rule Walden praised with a bill that Walden helped write. They’re now expected to vote on the floor Friday afternoon on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act, less than a day after lawmakers raced to make major last-minute changes to key provisions to the bill. (A spokesperson for Walden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
This won’t be the first time House Republicans are skirting this rule. As PolitiFact noted, House Republicans have often published a bill very late at night, waited one day, and voted early on the morning of the third day.
But the scope of the bill and the breakneck speed with which they’re moving it forward is unprecedented in recent history for such major legislation. Republicans won’t just be moving without a score from the Congressional Budget Office to transform a health care industry that represents one-sixth of the American economy — they’ll also be rushing forward without answers to some very basic questions about its impacts, as Vox’s Dara Lind documents.
Even Republicans have been furious about the speed. “It was rolled out two weeks ago. There were no hearings; they went straight to markup. They didn't even have any witnesses come and testify, which I think is a problem,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told me in an interview. “So many of the people in the hospitals, and doctors, are opposed to it. Sometimes that happens when you don't have actual hearings and a real markup.”
Concerns over the speed of this process have been building since the fight over AHCA began. After its introduction on March 9, Vox’s Sarah Kliff compared it to the rollout of Obamacare:
Republicans plan to move more quickly and less deliberatively than Democrats did in drafting the Affordable Care Act. They intend to do this despite repeatedly and angrily criticizing the Affordable Care Act for being moved too quickly and with too little deliberation.
The first draft of the law that became the Affordable Care Act — at least on the House side — was introduced on June 19, 2009. This was a discussion draft from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This draft came after many white papers, debates, and hearings that stretched back to a few months before President Barack Obama’s election. ...
The only draft available for discussion this time around was one leaked to Politico reporter Paul Demko.
Since then, the time Republican leadership is giving to allow its members to digest and assess the bill has gotten even shorter. It’s certainly less than three days.