Before the Thanksgiving holiday, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn backed off his effort to have the health care bill read aloud during a Senate session because some members of the GOP weren’t supporting him. (Under Senate rules, any senator can demand that a bill be read before debate begins.)
A spokesperson for Coburn said that his motivation was not to delay debate, but rather to make sure everyone knows what they’re getting into. “He wants to make sure everyone has a chance to read the bill,” the spokesperson said.
Other Republicans have claimed that the health reform bill is longer than Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace,” implying that there is little time to read the bill in its entirety, and that a bill that large is a sign of an overly powerful government. But is there any merit to these claims? Or are they simply scare tactics put together by the Republicans to make Americans think the bill is an unwieldy, dangerous monster that must be stopped? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
? The House version of the bill is 319,145 words.
? The Senate version of the bill, though 84 pages longer than the House version, is actually shorter than its House counterpart, at 318,512 words.
? Republican President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act was more than 280,000 words.