House Tosses Aside Procedural Integrity

This hasn’t exactly been a banner year for transparency and integrity in Congress. Big government is getting so big that even some bills, like the bank bailout and economic stimulus, are too big for anyone to have time to read and digest them in any reasonable period of time, let alone the short windows of time they are afforded. Now, the House is taking this to the next logical level, and tossing aside such technicalities as actually voting on a bill in order for it to pass—a feat of Orwellian obfuscation that only Congress could achieve. Here is more from Fox News:

… under a process called a “self-executing rule,” the House could simultaneously approve the Senate bill while voting on a package of changes to it. This would “deem” the Senate bill to be passed, without compelling members to vote for it directly.

Democratic leaders are considering the option because many House Democrats don’t want to cast a vote in favor of the unaltered Senate bill, which they oppose for numerous reasons. But the House must pass the Senate bill in order to move on to the package of changes intended to correct all the things about it that they don’t like.

The tactic would allow members to temporarily accept the Senate version while keeping it at arm’s length.

To recap: The House will pass health care without actually passing it by approving amendments to a bill they have not actually approved. Well, at least if its not being voted on, we have some idea of what’s in it, right? One would think. Here is what President Obama told Fox News:

“By the time the vote has taken place, not only I will know what’s in it, you’ll know what’s in it because it’s going to be posted and everybody’s going to be able to evaluate it on the merits,” he said.

So, it will be posted online and everybody will be able to ‘evaluate it on its merits’—only after it has been approved, as if it didn’t make a difference. But then again, this is the same guy who thinks it doesn’t matter whether the House actually approved the bill.


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