Reps. Cline and Phillips Introduce Third Bipartisan Initiative to Reform Government

August 20, 2020
Press Release
Ensures Members of Congress Have a Minimum of 48 Hours to Review Text of Legislation Prior to Voting

WASHINGTON – This week, Congressmen Ben Cline (R-VA-06) and Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) introduced H. Res. 1086 - the 48-Hour Bill Review Resolution, which will help ensure Members of Congress and the public are afforded the necessary time to read and review legislation before a vote is called on the House Floor. 

The House currently has a rule in place in which a bill cannot be voted on until 72-hours after its introduction. However, this rule is regularly avoided by stripping an existing bill of its text and “amending” it with entirely new language.

H. Res. 1086 would require that in addition to the 72-hour notice for bill introduction, the actual text to be voted on must be published at least 48-hours before the vote. Adding this rule strengthens the current 72-hour rule by providing an additional layer of protection for the legislative text being considered, thus closing a loophole used far too frequently in Congress. Further, the 48-Hour Bill Review Resolution would require the House to pass an altogether separate resolution in order to waive the waiting period required under H. Res. 1086.

Rep. Cline said, “One of the most basic principles of representative government is that the American people should be afforded time to review legislation prior to it being voted on by those they elect to serve in their name. This is not a partisan issue, and the standards set forth in H. Res. 1086 will bring greater accountability regardless of which party is in the majority.”

Rep. Phillips said, “I believe we need to repair our broken politics and restore people’s faith in government. But that can’t happen if the American people don’t think Members of Congress are reading the bills they are voting on. Members of Congress and our constituents both deserve the time to read and review legislation. That is why I support the 48-Hour Bill Review Resolution. This will afford us the time we need to understand the implications of the bills we are voting on, and prevents legislators from secretly and quickly passing legislation without the approval of the American people.”

This legislation is the third in a series of bipartisan reform bills that Congressmen Cline and Phillips have introduced together this month. In the past two weeks, the Congressmen have also introduced H.R. 7949, the SMART Government Act and H.R. 8022, the Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act.

Congressman Ben Cline represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. He previously was an attorney in private practice and served both as an assistant prosecutor and Member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Cline and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Botetourt County with their two children.