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Reading the bill

Sen. Tom Coburn's parliamentary threat du jour is that he will force someone to read the Senate health-care reform bill aloud on the floor. It's a bit of a strange threat, as the main target appears to be whichever hapless clerk will be tasked with reading it. Or maybe we'll get the speed reader from the video above, who already performed to great acclaim before the Energy and Commerce Committee.

But why not be more creative? Over Twitter, PourMeCoffee suggested William Shatner. If he's unavailable, I'd opt for Christopher Walken. Or maybe a Brit. I'd believe virtually anything said in an English accent.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 18, 2009; 3:53 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Does it specifically have to be some*one*? Why not simply let a computer read it at a fast, but still comprehensible, speed?

Posted by: stackunderflow | November 18, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, O/T but what do you make of this?

As you can imagine, it's catnip for conservatives.

Posted by: you-dont | November 18, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah how about William Shatner, David Attenborough and Roy Blount Jr. doing a tag team reading. I think after that most Americans will not only know exactly what is in the bill, they'll go out and buy the hard copy.

Posted by: porsillo | November 18, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Why not Peter Coyote? The guy is the narrator to go to for every other documentary or movie.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | November 18, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Ezra - do you know what it costs to keep Congress in session, on a dollar per hour basis? Would any allegedly big-C Conservative be so in favor of reading the bill aloud as a stalling tactic if the true cost was known? Something along the lines of "Tom Coburn (R) Costs Taxpayers $1.4 Million By Demanding a Reading of the Bill."

Frankly, I'd be happy to send him an invoice on behalf of the American people if he pulls that stunt. While I might disagree with the filibuster, at least it allows for debate. Demanding a reading is completely insane and nothing but a waste of my very hard-earned tax dollars.

Posted by: RDaneel | November 18, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

If it does get read - Ian McKellen. Maybe dressed as Gandalf.

Posted by: bean3 | November 18, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Hire a policy debater to do the reading (maybe your video is one of them moonlighting)

Posted by: bdballard | November 18, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The health care reform bill? Peewee Herman is your man.

Posted by: ostap666 | November 18, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Jon Cohn's idea is better

And it's already been done to great effect:

Posted by: eRobin1 | November 18, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

as Karen Tumulty over at Time suggested, why not let Tom Coburn read the Bill himself?

Posted by: lupercal | November 18, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Good idea! Make everyone in the Senate hear what is in it!

Take a look at this video.

This is what happens when reading the bill is not important.

Gross government waste or violations routinely come about when the bills are not read. Witness: Bailouts, Stimulus Packages,House-Heatlh Care Reform Bill.

I don't care what Party a person belongs to. If a lawmaker is going to vote in favor of the bill, that person has a moral and fiduciary responsibility to read and thoroughly analyze the bill. This applies to any bill, not just the healthcare bill. Go to: for more information!

Posted by: Hill3 | November 19, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Very clever. NOT.

Let's have high school students who have just become 18 read the bill on the floor.

That way these new voters will be able to see for themselves the burden that Congress and Administration intends to place on their generation and future generations.

Posted by: justacitizen2 | November 20, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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