One Ugly Trillion Dollar Baby

This is disturbing:

It is now 7 PM and the Democrats in Congress have yet to give their Republican
counterparts a copy of the final Stimulus Bill
for them to read. Steny Hoyer
says that the House is going to move toward a vote starting at 9 AM tomorrow.

Today’s version of the bill clocks in at 1,434 pages and that’s not the final version. What Congress will likely vote on tomorrow (because President Obama has practically demanded that he sign it on Monday) is likely going to be larger.

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There is no chance in the world that any member of Congress is going to be able to read the bill by morning unless they are a trained speed reader. Even then, they’re not going to know the full ramifications of what the bill contains. I’ll do some back of the envelope calculations to prove it.

Let’s start with two generous assumptions: that the bill remains at 1,434 pages, and it gets in the hands of your member of Congress at 8 PM. Let’s also assume that there are about 350 words on each page. In order for anyone to read the entire bill in 13 hours, they’d have to start the very minute they got it and read over 1.8 pages a minute every minute, without a break. They’ll be clocking in at a reading speed of 640.5 words per minute at that rate. If anyone needs a potty break, they’d better take the bill with them. Forget eating.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, there is this:

We’re receiving E-mails from Capitol Hill staffers expressing frustration that they can’t get a copy of the stimulus bill agreed to last night at a price of $789 billion. What’s more, staffers are complaining about who does have a copy: K Street lobbyists. E-mails one key Democratic staffer: “K Street has the bill, or chunks of it, already, and the congressional offices don’t. So, the Hill is getting calls from the press (because it’s leaking out) asking us to confirm or talk about what we know—but we can’t do that because we haven’t seen the bill. Anyway, peeps up here are sort of a combo of confused and like, ‘Is this really happening?'” Reporters pressing for details, meanwhile, are getting different numbers from different offices, especially when seeking the details of specific programs.

I have to stop typing so I can keep shaking my head.

H/T Jim Manzi and Jim Geraghty

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