House Health Bill Longest in 10 Years

Friday, November 27, 2009
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) takes a look at the Affordable Health Care for Americans Act

Republicans have tried to make a big deal about the length of the House Democrats’ health care reform plan, using it as a symbol of how much their adversaries love big government. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), in fact, claimed the Affordable Health Care for American Act was longer than War and Peace.

Not true.
The bill is quite long, no question about that. It is 314,900 words, making it the longest piece of legislation since 1999, according to Open Congress. But Democrats are not the only ones who like to produce legislative tomes. The second longest bill in the last 10 years—and only 68 fewer words than the health care reform plan—is the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, 2005 (314,832), authored by Republican Representative Don Young of Alaska.
In fact, Open Congress found that Republicans have produced exactly as many bloated bills as Democrats, after ranking the top 10 longest bills since 1999.
For the record, War and Peace, in English translation, has about 560,000 words.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
For Bills in Congress, How Long is Long? (by Donny Shaw, Open Congress)


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