In an exchange on the Senate floor, Republican Sen. John McCain asked Durbin, “Should we not at least be informed as to what the proposal is that the Senate Majority Leader is going to propose to the entire Senate?” Durbin’s answer: “I would say to the senator from Arizona that I am in the dark almost as much as he is, and I am in the leadership.” Durbin explained that during a Democratic caucus, Reid and the small group of senators involved in crafting the bill turned to their fellow Democrats and “basically stood and said, ‘We are sorry, we can’t tell you in detail what was involved.'”

“Isn’t that a very unusual process?” asked McCain, noting that “we are discussing one-sixth of the gross national product; the bill before us has been a product of almost a year of sausage-making. Yet here we are at a position on December 12, with a proposal that none of us, except, I understand, one person, the Majority Leader, knows what the final parameters are, much less informing the American people. I don’t get it.”