Sen. Richard Durbin, the number-two Democrat in the Senate, says the public has had hours and hours of time to familiarize itself with the newest version of the Democrats' national health care plan -- and that's more than enough of a chance to scrutinize the 383-page Reid Amendment to the original 2,074 page health care bill. "This bill has been before the American public for at least 70 hours on the Internet," Durbin said during debate on the Senate floor early Tuesday morning. "There's been ample opportunity for people to read and dissect and be critical and raise questions. That's the way it should be."
After weeks of secret negotiations, Reid unveiled the Reid Amendment Saturday morning. The Senate took its most critical vote on the bill -- the vote to limit debate and move forward toward a final vote -- at about 1:15 a.m. Monday, when the bill had been public for less than 40 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Even now, readers are still finding previously unknown features of the bill, notably the payoffs it contains for Democratic senators who reluctantly signed on to the bill. Nevertheless, Durbin says there's been ample time for examination, and it's time to move on.