Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Congress: Burning millions of your dollars to ram through a failed bill

HT to Glenn Reynolds

This is the second day in a row that the DC Examiner's editorial board has assembled a hard-hitting editorial on how Congress is working this stimulus. Today they point out the money being burned by the backroom deal makers:

For officials who came into office promising to operate the most honest and transparent White House and Congress ever, President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seem determined to achieve exactly the opposite result. Their actions in securing passage of the $1 trillion economic stimulus bill – the total cost exceeds $1 trillion when interest is added to the $838 billion Senate or $827 billion House versions - would be laughable were not the consequences for the nation so dire. Take for example the trio’s determination to hustle the Senate-House conference committee to begin meeting within hours of Senate passage of the upper chamber’s compromise version.

Less than 48 hours elapsed between the time the text of the compromise became available for public examination late Saturday evening and yesterday’s 61-37 vote for passage. At that rate, the Senate effectively was spending about $300 million every minute while considering the compromise, and allowing taxpayers a scandalously brief opportunity to discover how the senators were doing it. But even before the votes on final Senate passage were counted, Reid left a White House meeting with Obama and Pelosi yesterday morning promising to convene the conference committee as soon as possible and predicting the “minor differences” between the two chambers’ bills would be worked out within 24 hours, with conferees working into the night.

Republicans demanded the conference committee meeting be televised. Sen. John Ensign, R-NV, observing that “for too long, these conference committees have been the smoke-filled backrooms that frustrate the American people.” The reality is that while the conference committee meetings might be open, the actual negotiations on the stimulus bill have taken place behind closed doors in the leadership offices. Neither Reid nor Pelosi are smokers, but they’ve been writing the biggest single spending bill in American history behind closed doors just as once routinely happened in those smoky Capitol corridor rooms. They are taking care of their favored special interests and handing taxpayers the bill. Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI, provided a suitable illustration here by going public with his request that the conferees add $7 billion in relief for General Motors from a tax liability, a move that will certainly aid, among others, the United Auto Workers. House Democrats also vowed to use the conference to restore billions of dollars in spending reductions approved by senators. No wonder House Democrats rejected House GOP leader John Boehner’s motion requiring the conference report be posted online for 48 hours before a final vote. The Sunlight Foundation's petition for a 72-hour waiting period makes even more sense. And wasn't it Obama who promised to allow five-days of public examination before he signed any emergency bill?

We are getting screwed by the Congress. The people of this nation know it. Is it any wonder why a movement is growing among the states to reclaim their sovereignty? It comes as no surprise to us that states are beginning to rebel against a federal government that is clearly out of control. Seriously, just look at this bill, and the rush to ram it down our throats.

Transparency? Don't make me laugh. Congress has NEVER been transparent. The closest it's ever come to that was back at the time of the founding of the nation, and recently under Newt Gingrich, but even in both examples the Congress wasn't as open and transparent as it should be. The Congress needs to be reminded that A) We, the people wield the power, and B) We, the people ultimately hold the purse strings.

Mike Pence has recently announced that Republicans have been shut out of the conference committees. No Republican is being spoken with or included. The Democrats don't want us there because they know we'll hold up the process; we'd step in the way of the runaway trainwreck that's about to be foisted on this nation.

Call them up. 202-224-3121 and 202-225-4000. Tell the GOP Senators and tell them not to vote for this bill when it comes back through. Make an extra effort to push this on the Maine sisters and Arlen Specter. If he doesn't have someone answering phones at his DC office, hit his regional offices in Pennsylvania. (His Harrisburg number is (717) 782-3951.) The second number up there in red (thanks to my lovely wife) is John Boehner's number. Get in touch with him and tell him to make sure the House GOP does exactly what it did before. Hold the line, and make the Democrats own this POS.

I don't get the squishes. Why is God's name do they want to vote for a bill they don't have any bloody say on? Take names and notes, folks. Anyone who votes for this should be thrown out of office, and that goes double for any Republican. These fools are going to wreck the economy, make this recession much deeper, and ruin businesses across the nation. Call them up. Be firm, but be polite. You get a lot farther with honey than you do with vinegar. Of course, the honey comes when you remind them that if they vote no, they have your vote. If they vote yes, well, that's where the vinegar comes in, and it's a bitter shot to take, but they will be taking it on the way out the door.

Publius II


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