The final version of health care reform legislation will be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before it is voted on, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives announced Thursday.
"We will continue the transparent process this landmark legislation has had for months," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a joint statement.
U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls, said the decision was, at least in part, due to his advocacy.
Murphy said he told Democratic House leaders in a meeting on Wednesday he would vote against the bill if it was not posted on the Internet for 72 hours before the vote.
"I said, ‘Look, I'm not going to vote for it if I don't get to read it,'" Murphy said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
Murphy said that doesn't necessarily mean he will vote for the legislation, which is still being negotiated by the White House and senior lawmakers.
"I may not vote for it anyway because I don't know what's in it. But I can tell you if I don't get to read it I can't vote for it," Murphy said.
After the meeting, he began circulating a letter for House colleagues to co-sign calling for the 72-hour review period, but House leaders announced their decision before the letter was submitted.
"I think that they heard that message," Murphy said.
Murphy's advocacy for the 72-hour review period was praised by Warren County Republican Chairman Michael Grasso.
"I applaud him and I think it's obviously the right thing to do," said Grasso.
Ideally, Grasso said, the review period would be even longer.
The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan advocacy organization, is "very excited" there will be a 72-hour review period, said John Wonderlich, the group's policy director.
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"This is something that we have called for repeatedly in a number of different contexts, including this one," he said.
Details of the health care bill were still being negotiated on Thursday.
The White House reached a tentative agreement with union leaders to tax high-cost insurance plans, but other aspects were still up in the air, the Associated Press reported.
A final vote could come in a few weeks, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., a senior House member, told the Associated Press.
Murphy voted against the initial House version of the health care reform bill, but has said he would reconsider when the final version comes back to the House.
He said Thursday that having the 72-hour review period will provide him time to make an informed decision whether to vote for or against the bill.
He acknowledged he is being pressured from both sides of the health care debate.
"A lot of people have strong opinions about the health care bill," he said.
Citizen Action of New York, an advocacy organization, launched a Web site -- www.StandUpScott.org -- on Monday urging him to support health care reform legislation.
"We really hope that Congressman Murphy will take the opportunity and the time he has to look at the bill and realize it is a great bill," said Charlie Albanetti, a spokesman for the organization.
Local Republicans are unsure of final details of the bill, but firmly oppose what has been publicized so far, said Grasso, the Warren County GOP chairman.
"It is so flawed and so onerous that we definitely have problems with its content," he said.