posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 05:15 AM
I can offer an explanation. This is not the first time - by a long shot - that a major appropriation bill has been delayed in having its final text
Long and detailed appropriations bill like this are subjected to an enormous number of last-minute amendments; some changes in amounts here and there,
the addition of some favorite project, the deletion of something -- often several changes on every printed page of the proposed bill. These
amendments are so numerous and come so late in the process that, instead of Congress printing and reprinting the proposal with all these amendments
set in type, there is one copy (usually the Speaker's copy) that is carefully marked up by hand to show all these changes, and then the votes are on
the text in the Speaker's copy. This frequently means that the members themselves are voting without seeing all the latest changes on paper, because
very few of them could manage to mark up their own copies quite so thoroughly.
Anyway it's the Speaker's copy that get voted on, the Speaker signs it, it goes to the Senate, it (with all its handwritten changes) gets voted on
there, and the Speaker's copy is signed again by the Senate President, and then it goes to the White House for the President's signature on the
marked up Speaker's copy. It is this one copy with all the handwritten changes that is the official text.
Most bills in Congress get much fewer amendments, especially at the last minute, so typeset versions of up-to-date texts can easily be worked up and
printed for all the members and then the typeset version can be rushed over to the Govt Printing Office to be printed up in Statutes at Large and the
like. But with an appropriations bill with all those handwritten changes on the Speaker's copy, the typesetting of the final text has to be done
very laboriously, using the Speaker's copy and examining every line on every page to look for any changes and then work up a new typeset version from
it or change the last typeset version being very careful to include every handwritten change. It's a very time-consuming process.
The result is that some early publications of the enacted text - as in the monthly paperback booklets issued by West's US Code Congressional &
Administrative News and Lexis's US Code Service Legislative Updates - are photocopies of the marked up Speaker's copy with the handwritten
notations. ..... But the final, neatly done, typeset versions arrive much much later, often after a delay of more than a month.