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Armed Services Panel to Post Policy Bill Prior to Markup

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  • May 1, 2011
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In a sharp break from past practice, the House Armed Services Committee will post the text of each section of the defense authorization bill on its website one day before it is marked up in subcommittee or in the full committee.

The new system will go into effect this week with the panel’s six subcommittees scheduled to consider the fiscal 2012 policy bill Wednesday and Thursday. The full committee will mark up the bill May 11.

In addition to posting the bill language, committee staff will post the descriptive section-by-section analysis and directive report language, a move that goes “above and beyond new House requirements” designed to bring openness to the legislative process, according to a written statement from the committee.

The change by Chairman Howard “Buck:” McKeon (R-Calif.) is intended to ensure that taxpayers are investing and equipping a modernized military force in the most efficient and transparent way possible, the statement said.

Previously, the text of the bill and report language were not made publicly available until all details were published by the Government Printing Office. The full committee would release a detailed summary of the legislation only after it had completed its markup.

The House effort draws a starker contrast with the practice of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which considers its version of the authorization bill in closed sessions, reports Army Times. The House Armed Services Committee previously has allowed the public to attend the markup sessions for the legislation.

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