When I first began tracking the results of President Obama’s Sunlight Before Signing promise to post bills coming from Congress online for five days before signing them, I quickly noticed that the White House was holding many bills for five days in the natural course of business, but not posting them, denying itself easy successes.
Followers of this blog and that issue may recall seeing columns in my Sunlight Before Signing tables titled “Five Days?” That was to say, “Hey, White House! These are easy wins for you!”
Well, as I reported in my last update, the White House has now made a practice of posting all bills on a special section of the Whitehouse.gov web site. And they are posting all the bills they receive.
We no longer need to highlight those five-day bills, so we’ve simplified the chart!
As you’ll see below, we’ve got the date the bill was presented to the president, the date he signed it into law, and a “Yes” or “No” simply to indicate whether there was Sunlight Before Signing compliance or not.
|Number of Bills||Emergency Bills||Bills Posted Five Days|
And the results are? … getting better—but painfully slowly.
President Obama has signed 213 bills into law now. One was an emergency bill, not subject to the Sunlight Before Signing promise. Out of the 212 remaining bills, he’s carried out his Sunlight Before Signing promise on 54 occasions—just over a quarter of the time.
In 2009, the administration was 6 for 124 — a dismal .049 average. So far in 2010, he’s 48 for 88, giving bills the promised sunlight just over half the time.
That’s a pretty far cry from carrying out his clear promise to put all bills online five days before signing them. But we’re seeing improvement. I’ve long guessed that we’ll see full implementation after the next election when people’s attention turns to the credibility of the president on the 2012 campaign trail.
With that, the full Sunlight Before Signing chart…
(Parentheses indicate a separate Whitehouse.gov page with a link to Thomas legislative database)
* Page now gone, but it was either directly observed, evidence of it appears in Whitehouse.gov search, or White House says it existed.
[Brackets indicate a link from Whitehouse.gov to Thomas legislative database]
† Bill was posted for five days after final passage, though not formal presentment. Counted as “Yes.”
‡ Link to final version of bill on impossible-to-find page.
E! Emergency legislation not subject to five-day posting