How Difficult Is It To Post A Bill On The White House Website For Five Days?

from the come-on... dept

It seemed like a pretty straightforward campaign promise by President Obama: all non-critical bills that were passed by Congress would be placed on the White House website for five days for people to review before the President would sign or veto. It was a mostly symbolic gesture, since, once passed, there's not much that would likely happen to change the bill, but it could allow some to make the case, one way or another, for how President Obama should respond to the legislation. We were disappointed when, at the first opportunity, Obama totally ignored this promise and signed a bill just a day after Congress passed it.

Since then? It hasn't gotten any better. The NY Times is reporting that Obama has ignored this rather simple promise on nearly every bill put before him. That's not the "transparency" we were told to expect. Even worse, the White House has now "changed the terms" of the promise (which sure sounds like "breaking the promise"), saying they'll put draft bills on the website earlier and start the "five day" clock ticking then -- even though legislation may change before Congress votes on it.

And then... there's the bizarre claim that the White House couldn't fulfill the promise due to "unexpected technical hurdles." Really? Putting up the details of a law? And waiting five days? What kind of technical hurdles are we talking about. I recognize that there are campaign promises that get broken, but there are usually at least decent reasons why. In this case, it seems to be because no one in the administration actually cares. And that's disappointing.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2009 @ 10:20pm

    Yet if there is a proposal that could negatively impact industry (ie: the FDA passing new meat standard laws that would cost industry money) industry gets a whole year or whatever to respond. But when a bill may harm the American public the American public doesn't get much time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2009 @ 10:39pm (read post 129).

    Where I wrote.

    "Industry gets a whole year to comment but the public gets only a week. It should be obvious that the FDA is here to serve industry, not the public (and the only reason the FDA would give the public a week to comment is because laws require them to give some time for us to comment, despite the fact that the FDA simply ignores public concerns and comments)."

    (uhm... I think I remember reading somewhere that the FDA eventually passed the feed ban anyways? Not sure, but my point is that industry gets more time to read, understand, comment, lobby against, and adjust to a change in law that may negatively affect them, though it would positively affect the general public. However, when the reverse is true the general public hardly has a comment period).

    Obama seems to be promoting this same pro industry mentality as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Rekrul, 23 Jun 2009 @ 11:11pm

    In this case, it seems to be because no one in the administration actually cares. And that's disappointing.

    Obama is a politician, politicians lie, therefore Obama is a liar. Why does this surprise anyone?

    He lied through his teeth to get elected. He never intended to follow through on any of the things he promised. This is what politicians do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    discojohnson, 23 Jun 2009 @ 11:20pm


    S.O.P., change is here... He's black instead of white, but still a two-faced politician

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Laudanummilkshake, 24 Jun 2009 @ 12:10am

    The Deal.

    "I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Laudanummilkshake, 24 Jun 2009 @ 12:11am

    The Deal.

    "I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    DJ Science (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 1:18am


    Plain and simple: the people who heard this and were actively interested in this policy are MAJORLY outnumbered by those who couldn't care less. Let's face it - the internet is a large place, however once you get outside of facebook and myspace, it becomes smaller and smaller. Those of us who heard this campaign promise and paid attention are far outnumbered by those who just wanted "change".

    Why would they go through all that work for those few of us who care? It's not like these laws affect us in any way, right?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    bob, 24 Jun 2009 @ 1:52am

    Is it a matter of difficulty or something else?

    With this current administration couching it self in the words of transparency, but really occlusion and opacity are the true actions.
    No real examination is allowed, for we would howl in protest if allowed to truly see the bills before signed into law.
    The students of Saul Alinsky now control the most powerful government on the planet. They have commenced the destruction of the dollar, and what is left of our ability to make things.
    The disciples of Saul have set out to destroy this country, and we will let them. "Power to the the Bureaucrat, power to the czars"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Bradley Stewart, 24 Jun 2009 @ 2:14am

    Lack of concern or just good Political sense?

    Though Obama did promise to post bills well ahead of time to give everyone a shot to take a look at them and comment before voting on them there are real problems aside from the good that can come out of this for him. If he does this the bills become stationary targets for his opposition. This means a whole spate of negitive advertising campaignes from his opposition. What a headach! Assuming if this is true its pretty tough for him to say this. On the other hand perhaps he should come up with a better line than my dog ate my homework assignment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Glenn, 24 Jun 2009 @ 2:22am


    a politician lied to the voters? Imagine that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Douglas Braun, 24 Jun 2009 @ 2:55am

    Seriously, now.

    Believe in transparency, eh? ... and the Tooth Fairy, too, I suppose. Isn't transparency just folks on the outside wishing they were on the inside. I say go with trust and pray his way is paved with as many results as good intentions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Judith lindenau, 24 Jun 2009 @ 3:52am

    public input

    If the added conversation is, as you say, meaningless anyway--why have it? It's just additional verbiage and wasted time that won't make any difference. Meaningful transparency comes when meaningful input can be made.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    John Doe, 24 Jun 2009 @ 4:14am

    I am surprise the Obama defenders haven't shown up yet. Maybe there aren't many left? Of course now it is too late. He is the president and free to do whatever he wants.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    JohnForDummies (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 5:22am

    Oh wow. Obamba lied. Not the first. Far from the last.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    itchyfish, 24 Jun 2009 @ 5:44am

    Sad Commentary

    I think it's a sad commentary on the American public when someone blatantly lies to us and we shrug and say "Meh, he's a politician, it's expected." Where's the outrage? We've become so jaded that we now *expect* this behavior instead of railing against it. It's not just the president either, this attitude extends down to even the city council level. I don't think many people take this same attitude in the their personal lives, yet it's acceptable from people that make decisions that affect our personal lives. I've been as guilty as anyone else about this until lately, and it's amazing if you stand back and take a hard look at the American public's view of politics. We've given up, the politicians know it and they do whatever they want whenever they want without *any* fear of consequence. We, as a people, should fix that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Adam Long, 24 Jun 2009 @ 5:56am

    As the song says

    "Republocrat Democran, one party system." -- Sage Francis

    The President is nothing more than the winner of a popularity contest. Presidents need to be rich to even think about getting elected, and the power of conglomerates so outweighs the power of the people that we have almost no chance at all of having our wishes met and our voices heard. Our representatives are overpaid and out of touch. Federal health care is good enough for them, but too expensive for us. The partisan politics in this country are so bad that the two parties can't even talk to each other anymore. 70% of Americans don't vote. Not because they don't care, but because when they vote, they see no difference in their day to day lives. This country was founded by men who valued reason and rationality, and now a President can't get elected without arguing about how he prays more than they other candidate. This country was a grand social experiment that needs to be scrapped and started over again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 5:57am

    The technical hurdle

    The hurdle they do not want to jump is that whole actually having to listen to the public part.
    Why listen to the public when they tend to disagree with those who line your coffers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    SunKing, 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:10am

    Remember to forget all this before the next voting opportunity so that, once again, you can give them the sanction of the victim.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Dirk Belligerent, 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:21am

    * Obama promised to not have lobbyists in his Administration and then packed it with lobbyists and (when they could sneak through) tax cheats.

    * Obama promised openness and transparency and not refuses to release information on his meetings, doing exactly what he excoriated Dubya for doing.

    * He ran against the tactics of the War on Terror and then kept and expanded the use of the same tools, like the Patriot Act. The same people who shrieked about Dubya "spying on Americans" have fallen silent proving it was never about "spying", but them not having the power themselves.

    * Obama TALKS about how we can't spend money we don't have and then jams thru wasteful and useless spending which will double the debt in 5 years and triple it in 10 years - and this isn't counting the disaster that socialized medicine and carbon taxing will wreak.

    * When Dubya had 5% unemployment and $400 billion deficits, he was bashed for "jobless recovery" and running up the debt. Obambi is looking at 10% unemployment and $1.6 TRILLION deficits and the media and his sheeple followers are praising His Holy Barackness' "creating and saving" jobs.

    * He and his flunkies have insulted our allies, like the UK and Canada (wrongly saying the latter let the 9/11 hijackers in) while coddling tyrants and thugs like Iran and Venezuela and is praised for "restoring America's status in the world."

    * Claims he doesn't want to run banks and auto companies and then throws away bankruptcy laws in order to nationalize industries, pay off his fat cat friends and reward union constituents. Future capitalists will have to calculate whether they can do business in a country where a self-anointed Emperor can seize private businesses while demagoging investors as evil people unworthy of protection; they will obviously decide that somewhere else is where they'll create jobs and wealth.

    It goes on and on and on and anyone who wasn't guzzling the hopey-changey Kool-Aid last year saw this coming and has been horrified as it's been even worse than expected in only 5 months. But what's most distressing is that the day after Obama started to walk back his signature lie, er, promise that people would be able to keep their private insurance after he seizes that 1/5 of the economy, what really chaps Tech Dirt's ass is this trivial lie that he'd allow his subjects to have a peek at what he and the Dems have committed to imposing upon them. It's like watching a genocidal dictator killing millions of his people and pointing and shrieking, "Did you see that?!? HE DIDN'T WASH HIS HANDS AFTER USING THE BATHROOM!!!!"

    Obama has a RDF that makes Steve Jobs look like a piker. I actually had a discussion last night with someone who genuinely believed - here is her exact quote verbatim - "PRIVATE INSURANCE REFUSES TO PAY FOR TREATMENT ALL THE TIME! And people have died because of their COST based decisions. The gov't will not be involved in the decision making - only the health providers." This on the same day Dear Leader restricted cigarettes because He knows what's best for us and our health, adult choice be damned.

    It's like listening to a child explain how Santa Claus will bring them a pony except these are supposedly intelligent adults. They whine about how Evil Big Business has corrupted our noble civil servants and rail about the inefficiencies of the Post Office and DMV, but magically believe that health care will be free of all the flaws that they themselves ascribed to government and business before. It's madness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Rob R. (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:28am

    I'd STILL rather have the President of the Galaxy instead of ba-ROK hoo-SAYN oh-BAH-mah!

    I've loathed and reviled this piece of offal since he first poked his misshapen head out of the muck and said "This is Reverend Jeremiah Wright, my friend and mentor" immediately followed by: Even tho I sat in front of this hatemonger and race-baiter for 20 years in the front row of the church, I never knew he said those things. Here, let me throw my "best friend and mentor" under the bus so the American public can rally to my and eat up every word I say like the sheeple they are. Change! More Change! Wait......where is the Change?!?

    To those that believed a single word this pathetic piece of shit ever uttered - Congratulations! You elected him! Mad now? Tough!

    Vote this bastard out in 2012 - if that option is still available by then. He may turn out to be more like Emperor Palpatine then President Zaphod Beeblebrox.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:32am

    As a politican, it is easy to make promises when you aren't in control, you aren't in power. It is very easy to promise the moon.

    Then you get the job of President, and you discover that stuff isn't the way you expected it in the fairytale land of election promises, and you end up having to do things a different way.

    It's sort of like reading techdirt. It's all fun and games because most of what Mike posts either never comes into being, never directly effects him, or he has little or no control over it. It would be funny as heck to see Mike in charge of the music business, only because he would discover that the fairytales can't always come true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Christopher Smith, 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:38am

    Re: The technical hurdle

    Exactly this. The THOMAS system has been doing exactly what the White House says is technically impossible for years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Adam (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:41am

    "Doing is the best way of saying." -- Zach de la Rocha

    Republicans and Democrats are like different servers in the same restaurant. The service style is different, but they feed us all the same S***.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Gabriel S., 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:43am

    Re: Lack of concern or just good Political sense?

    Really? A headache? He can't handle opposition?

    GOOD LORD STOP THE PRESSES, we've got a leader who can't stomach being criticized! My God, is this what we've relegated ourselves to? 19 year old kids are being shot in Iran, and we have the audacity to !@#%@! about these quote-unquote "real problems aside from the good that can come out of this".

    I do agree with your last line. However, our current POTUS has more than a few broken promises he needs to own up to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Esahc (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 8:04am

    Re: Seriously, now.

    TRUST? I didn't vote for him, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He has broken his word on the simplest of promises to keep. How can I trust anyone who dose not keep his word?

    He is a shill, a coward, & a lair . . . he should be dubbed Bush III.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Esahc (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 8:05am

    Re: Sad Commentary


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2009 @ 10:09am

    big fuckin deal

    who cares

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    josh (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 10:17am

    Re: The Deal.

    LOL. Oh wow. I needed that laugh this morning. Thank you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    josh (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 10:18am

    Re: Seriously, now.

    Yeah, but...Isn't the road to hell paved with good intentions?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    nasch, 24 Jun 2009 @ 10:31am

    Re: Sad Commentary

    We don't just accept it. We don't just expect it. We aren't just resigned to it. We DEMAND that our leaders lie to us. If a politician on the campaign trail actually told the truth, was honest about what we need to do to solve our problems, and didn't make any promises he couldn't keep, he would not have a chance of being elected.

    We would turn to the candidate who told us everything was going to be fine, and refused to talk about any cuts he would make. The one who would make whatever promises he thinks will get him elected, knowing he won't keep all of them, maybe none of them. We want the one who promises solutions, even if he doesn't provide any evidence he knows how to enact them.

    Just to be clear, I'm not talking about Obama, I'm talking about nearly every politician there is. These are the only politicians we get, because they are the only ones we are willing to elect. If Obama hadn't been willing to do it, somebody else would, and he would have won it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Otto von Bismark, 24 Jun 2009 @ 1:51pm

    "People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2009 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Sad Commentary


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    PrometheeFeu (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 5:49pm

    Even if most people would not care, it would be great for bloggers etc... We could comment on the bill...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Rekrul, 24 Jun 2009 @ 10:51pm

    You forgot to read the fine print on his campaign promises;

    "Some restrictions apply. Not valid in all areas. Subject to change at any time. May be withdrawn without notice."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Brad Eleven, 25 Jun 2009 @ 5:15am

    Not yet

    Let's see, he's presided for, what? Six months? Barely.

    The source article kicks up some dust, but is really just another way to attract your eyeballs toward some advertising.

    I remember thinking in late February something cynical because things hadn't changed overnight. Then I realized that there's really no way to know whether things have changed--without it being reported to me.

    Perhaps it's the media that must change first, to enable the popular political parts of a democratic Republic to transform.

    Or, you know, we're stuck with an outdated system and all we can do is to gasp in horror as the bug reports pour in. All we'll ever get are kludges and bags on the side of our Wondrous Experiment, and the naysayers will all be right in the end. It's fuct, we're doomed, and you can't trust anyone, not even yourself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    Mike Liveright (profile), 25 Jun 2009 @ 9:32am

    Get our Representatives to commit to vote against unposted bills

    It is too late to have the bill posted 5 days before the president signs it. It's an improvement, but I am asking my representatives to delay voting to approve any Bill, ammendment ... until 5 days after ti (they) are posted. That way their vote can be based on the wisdom of the WEB rather than their own limited research staff or the lobiests only.

    Obviously the representatives who do not honor such a commitment will have that on their record when they ask for money or my vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 25 Jun 2009 @ 11:10am

    Re: Not yet

    Let's see, he's presided for, what? Six months? Barely.

    I agree on things like fixing the economy or war in the middle east.

    But posting a bill to a website for five days? How is that possibly something that needs more than six months?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    Jay Greathouse (profile), 25 Jun 2009 @ 6:59pm

    a President's job

    is to sell whatever program the handlers want sold by the official U.S. top salesperson, Obama is just another PR flack

    the election campaign was a scam, all everyone ever talked about was Obama, the results were obviously predictable

    heap on the invective if that is your hobby, the President is the designated public target for that, but you are only fooling yourself if you think significant meaning change will ever come from the top

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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