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94% of Senate Bills Passed in Secret

94% of Senate Bills Passed in Secret

CRS Report
July 28, 2008

855 bills have passed the Senate with no debate, no amendments, no votes

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) released a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) finding that 94 percent of bills the Senate has passed in the 110th Congress have been without a vote, debate or a single amendment. The 855 bills that have been secretly passed spend more than $9 billion, though a final total is not available because many of the bills were rushed through before a cost analysis could be performed.

Senator DeMint: “It would surprise many Americans to learn that the ‘World’s Greatest Deliberative Body’ passes the overwhelming majority of legislation without any debate at all. Democrats think they are entitled to pass bills without debate or votes, and they’ve tried to ram them through right before recess to pressure us to give up. But, Senators shouldn’t fear debate on these important bills. It’s in the best traditions of our republic to demand the Senate actually do its job and have a public debate on bills that expand government and increase the burden on taxpayers. Senator Reid can complain all he wants, but Republicans represent millions of Americans whose voices are being silenced by Democrat strong-arm tactics.”

Dr. Coburn: “The U.S. Senate has a nine percent approval rating because the American people believe that much of our work is done in secret with no debate, no transparency and no accountability. This report shows that the reality is worse than the public’s fears. Instead of encouraging open debate, I’m disappointed that Majority Leader Reid often chooses secrecy or demagoguery. For instance, he has depicted my effort to reduce the number of bills that pass the Senate in secret by ten percent as ‘unprecedented obstruction.’ What is unprecedented and ahistorical, however, is the Majority Leader’s view that Senators should have a king-like right to pass massive spending bills in secret with no debate, no amendments and no recorded vote.”

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