Politics

In Search of Missing Bills, Congress Is on the Case

Today's search of CBO by Senate Democrats isn't the first time Congress has gone on the hunt

Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., ride an elevator in the Ford Building after leaving the Senate just after a vote Tuesday to meet with the Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY GILLIAN ROBERTS and JASON DICK

Democratic senators started the week of June 19 on a mission — to find the Republican health care bill. Several senators took to the chamber’s floor early in the week to lament the absence of so-called regular order — a bill’s journey through subcommittee, committee and eventually the floor on its way toward consideration and possible passage — for the Senate’s version of the bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. Leadership has said the bill would be released Thursday with the expectation of a vote next week.

On Tuesday morning, Democratic Sens. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Cory Booker of New Jersey announced they intended to head over to the Congressional Budget Office to try and catch a glimpse of the bill, which is being partially scored in pieces by the non-partisan agency. The three had a meeting with the director of CBO, Keith Hall.

Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Cory Booker of New Jersey take a selfie before a meeting with CBO Director Keith Hall in Ford Building where they asked for a copy of the Republicans' health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Cory Booker of New Jersey take a selfie before a meeting with CBO Director Keith Hall in Ford Building where they asked for a copy of the Republicans’ health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

This is hardly the first time members have gone on missions to unearth what they deem missing legislation.

Earlier this year, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., dragged a copier through the halls of the Capitol with the hopes of photocopying the House Republicans’ health care plan. Certain factions of the Republican Party had complained at that time about the closed-door nature of consideration of that version of the bill, which eventually passed.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., stands with his copier on a cart as he speaks to reporters after trying to gain access to the room housing the House Republicans' secret health care plan in the Capitol on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Sen. Paul hoped to make copies of the House Republicans' health care plan. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., stands with his copier on a cart as he speaks to reporters after trying to gain access to the room housing the House Republicans’ secret health care plan in the Capitol on Thursday, March 2, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Perhaps the cutest stunt of late was in 2002 when Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott of Tennessee and his leadership team brought bloodhounds to a news conference to sniff out legislation that they said Democrats were stalling from reaching the chamber’s floor. 

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., with bloodhounds at a news conference of GOP Senate leadership criticizing the Democratic leadership on its handling of the Senate agenda. As Lott and others entered the room with the dogs, they coaxed the dogs to "find" legislation that has not yet come to the Senate floor..CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY PHOTO BY SCOTT J. FERRELL
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., with bloodhounds at a news conference of GOP Senate leadership criticizing the Democratic leadership on its handling of the Senate agenda. As Lott and others entered the room with the dogs, they coaxed the dogs to “find” legislation that has not yet come to the Senate floor. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)
GOP leaders brought Bloodhounds into a news conference to look for over fifty passed house bills that are still waitng for action in the Senate. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, holds one while Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., speaks at the podium.
GOP leaders brought Bloodhounds into a news conference to look for over fifty passed house bills that are still waiting for action in the Senate. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, holds one while Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., speaks at the podium.

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