The public comment period for this legislation has ended.

Transparency in Government Act 2008

1 section comment

Title II - Enhancing Public Access to the Work of Congressional Committees, Legislative Information, and Votes

Sec. 205. Full disclosure of conference reports, identification of new material in conference reports and openness in conference committee deliberations.

The important work of conference committees should be open to public scrutiny. When circumstances arise in which it is necessary to include in a conference report a provision or measure never before debated and voted, that provision should be highlighted so as to avoid the appearance or actuality of unfair dealing.

  1. IN GENERAL- The rules of the House and the Standing Rules of the Senate are amended by adding at the end the following:




    1. It shall not be in order to vote on the adoption of a report of a committee of conference unless such report has been available to Members and to the general public for at least 72 hours before such vote. If a point of order is sustained under this paragraph, then the conference report shall be set aside.


      `(2) For purposes of this paragraph, a report of a committee of conference is made available to the general public as of the time it is posted by the Secretary of the Senate or Clerk of the House on their respective Web sites in a format that can be searched by text.




    2. This rule may be waived by a vote of two-thirds of the Members voting, a quorum being present.






  2. Clear Identification of New Material in Conference Reports- The Rules of the House and the Standing Rules of the Senate are amended by adding at the end the following:


    `The joint explanatory statement by a committee of conference shall separately identify and explain each provision of the report in violation of paragraph 2 or 3 of rule XXVIII of the Standing Rules of the Senate and, if possible, identify the Member who proposed such provision.’.




  3. Conference Committee Protocols-




    1. Conference Committees shall hold regular, formal meetings of all conferees that are open to the public or televised;




    2. All conferees should be given adequate notice of the time and place of all such meetings; and




    3. All conferees should be afforded an opportunity to participate in full and complete debates of the matters that such conference committees may recommend to their respective Houses.

General Comments on Transparency in Government Act 2008

anonymous on April 4, 2008

You can require that conference committees meet in public and on tv as much as you want. All the real deals will be cut in the backroom no matter what how you write a rule. And an awful lot of differences between house and senate bills get resolved without a conference committee so the proposal won't even apply to those bills.