June 22, 2009

White House moves to post bills online earlier

So far, Obama's record on this campaign pledge has been glaringly awful.

"When there’s a bill that ends up on my desk as president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it, so that you know what your government’s doing."

There are new promises, however, that this pledge may finally be getting implemented:

Now, in a tacit acknowledgment that the campaign pledge was easier to make than to fulfill, the White House is changing its terms. Instead of starting the five-day clock when Congress passes a bill, administration officials say they intend to start it earlier and post the bills sooner.

“In order to continue providing the American people more transparency in government, once it is clear that a bill will be coming to the president’s desk, the White House will post the bill online,” said Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman. “This will give the American people a greater ability to review the bill, often many more than five days before the president signs it into law.”

I'm not going to hold my breath, but at least the White House realizes that even their defenders are unhappy with their record on transparency so far. We'll be keeping an eye out and report substantive changes if/when they occur.