While the Bush administration has earned a well-deserved reputation for acting in secrecy, similar cloak-and-dagger tactics are popping up on Capitol Hill, where the Republican majority has demonstrated that it can make legislation appear or vanish without even a vote.Some details follow:
A case in point came before Congress' Christmas recess, when Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist inserted an immunity provision for flu vaccine manufacturers in a defense bill after other lawmakers had agreed that it would be left out.
Now the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports that GOP officials slipped a $22 billion gift to the health-insurance industry into legislation that was supposed to cut the federal budget. The action was taken during a meeting from which Democratic lawmakers and their staff members were excluded.Not something they sang about on Schoolhouse Rock, is it? Maybe they need a elementary primer on democracy over there in the red-tinged halls of Congress.
Here's the final paragraph from the editorial staff of the P-G:
Such tactics are more than high-handed. They are a fundamental short-circuiting of the legislative process, just one more layer in the culture of corruption that is slowly strangling Washington and making a mockery of our democratic form of government.Can one or more Constitutional originalists in the audience (and I know you're out there) explain to me where this is spelled out in the Constitution? It's my understanding that Article 1 Section 7 outlines the process in which a bill becomes law. Where is it written that one party can highjack a bill and insert text that (in the words of the P-G) "other lawmakers had agreed that it would be left out"?
The P-G is right, it's just more corruption from the republicans. Nothing new here, citizens.
New republican motto: "Corruption - It's the Right thing to do."
And if you don't get the pun, you're part of the problem.