After blasting the Senate last week for passing a 600-page bill no one had time to read, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced legislation that would force the Senate to give its members one day to read bills for every 20 pages they contain.
"For goodness sakes, this is a 600-page bill. I got it this morning," Paul said Friday, just before the Senate approved a massive bill extending highway funding, federal flood insurance and low student loans rates.
"Not one member of the Senate will read this bill before we vote on it," he added.
Paul also introduced related legislation Friday, S. 3359, that would prohibit the inclusion of more than one subject in a single bill.
The highway-flood-student loan bill came up just one day before authorization for highway spending was set to expire, and two days before the interest rate on loans was set to double to 6.8 percent. But Paul said that is no excuse for rushing a bill to the floor without giving senators a chance to learn what's in it.
He also noted that Senate rules require bills to be held for 48 hours before they receive a vote so members can read them, but said the Senate failed to follow even that minimal rule....
"I passed two senators in the hall going back to their office, still trying to get out something that's been written in this bill that affects their states that they found out minutes ago," Paul said Friday morning. "Had they not found out about it, nobody would have known about it."
Sen. Paul speaks on this topic:
Though, as Radley Balko pointed out here back in 2009, with many bills merely reading them is no guarantee of understanding their effects.