After casting his vote on the 2010 Defense Authorization Bill Congressman Baird released the following statement:
"Yet again, Members of Congress have been forced to vote on a major piece of legislation, that spends billions of dollars, and have been given less than 24 hours to read the bill. The Defense Authorization Bill is 1,236 pages long, and authorizes $680.2 billion. This is not a vote that needed to be rushed. I see no logical reason why Members of Congress and the public couldn't have been given at least 72 hours to read the bill.
This bill includes many important provisions that I support. Most importantly, it will ensure that our military has the resources it needs to defend our nation, and guarantees they have the weapons and equipment they need to say safe while protecting all our freedoms. It also provides our men and women in uniform a pay raise. All are very important to the future of our country. Yet, if we truly care about our national defense, and we truly want to support our troops, Congress should take its responsibility seriously and insist that we really take the time to know what we are voting on.
This bill will soon become law. However, the process in which that happened cannot be defended. In recent the years, the bills that affect the most people, and spend the most money, are the bills that are rushed through Congress the fastest. That is wrong no matter which party is in power. We must pass my 72 hour rule. Now is the time to fix the problem once and for all, and put rules in place so that Congress is better able to serve the American people. People should have a chance to read what is in legislation before it becomes law, not after."
Congressman Baird has also been a leading supporter of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and voted for it in April 2009 as a stand alone bill.