The Obama administration seems to be working to pull defeat from the jaws of victory on the president’s “Sunlight Before Signing” campaign promise. Whitehouse.gov sometimes posts bills as “pending” before they get out of Congress, when it’s premature to ask the public for a final review.
The problem is particularly acute today, as I note in a Cato@Liberty post:
H.R. 1586 is a “shell bill” that Congress has been batting back and forth, and it has covered various subject matters in its busy life. It indeed started out as a bill to tax the bonuses of executives in TARP-subsidized firms. When it passed the House, though, it had become the “Aviation Safety and Investment Act of 2010.” And this week it was amended in the Senate to contain a potpourri of spending and revenue programs. (WashingtonWatch.com cost estimate: $125 per U.S. family.)
Lets say a high schooler has been assigned by her teacher to monitor the bills President Obama receives from Congress. From the White House’s pending legislation page, she clicks on a link to find a bewildering hodgepodge of bill versions on the Thomas page for the bill. (Click on the image at right to see a screen capture.)
And none of the bill versions has passed Congress! Thomas, the Library of Congress’ legislative tracking service, tells visitors that the last bill listed is most recent. But the current version of the bill is item four of six, referrred to as the “XXXXXXAct ofXXXX.” Thanks to Whitehouse.gov, our high schooler is misled into believing that President Obama will soon sign a tax on bonsuses given to TARP-slurping executives when in fact a variety of other policies may soon pass.