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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pelosi and Reid to Override Legislative Conference and Write Final Version of Health Bill in Secret?

Was this what Obama meant when he promised to end the old Washington ways of secret backroom deals?

For Their Next Trick . . .
The latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory
By John Fund
Wall Street Journal
DECEMBER 23, 2009

Look for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to try to circumvent the traditional conference committee process by which the different versions of health care reform passed by each house will be reconciled. If so, it will be the latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory.

Conferences involving members from both houses are messy things. They are usually conducted in public and often televised, and can produce a compromise version of the bill that leaves rank-and-file members tempted to vote against the final version. That could be perilous in the case of health care since it's likely to pass without a vote to spare in the Senate and the House's version passed by only five votes.
...
Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi would love to come up with a way to bash heads in private and skip any public discussion that further reveals just how incoherent and unworkable both the bills are. Luckily, there is a subterfuge readily available that wouldn't require the House to swallow the Senate's bill unchanged but also ducks the traditional give-and-take of the conference committee.

When Democrats took over Congress in 2007, they increasingly did not send bills through the regular conference process.
...
[S]erious dialogue isn't what Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are interested in right now. Look for the traditional conference committee to be replaced by a "ping-pong" game in which health care is finalized behind closed doors with little public scrutiny before the bill is rushed to the floor of each chamber for a final vote.
Is this the new kind of politics Obama said he would bring to DC?

ACTION ALERT: Call, fax email or mail your Congressional Representative or Senator and let them know that you've had enough of these secret backroom deals that shortchange the American people! If you think they are not listening, then write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper (check their web site for email contact and letter length guidelines).

One way or the other, we must stop these anti-democratic tactics and hold Democrats responsible for their actions in 2010!

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