By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Congressional Republicans who vowed more bill transparency should they gain control of the House apparently created themselves a loophole to circumvent that promise come January.
According to several Washington, D.C., sources, including the news outlet Politico, House GOP leaders unveiled new rules to go in effect when the 112th Congress convenes Jan. 5.
Among them is a promise to make bills and joint resolutions available to the public for at least three calendar days before a committee can consider them. But it’s unclear whether that rule applies to the Rules Committee, which leaves open the possibility of last-minute changes without public notice.
The news has caused a minor stir, given the intensity with which the GOP had criticized Democrats this past term for passing bills few people had read.
Mississippi 1st District Congressman-elect Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo said he hasn’t seen the proposed House rules and therefore can’t comment.
But he said he disagrees with any measure to hide important legislation from the public.
“Possibly in a national emergency,” Nunnelee said. “But I think the clear message from Nov. 2 is that this attitude that says ‘OK, we’re going to vote on it now and look at it later’ isn’t acceptable to the American people. I think that the rules should be that legislation should be transparent.”