Cynical Synapse

Sat, 26 Sep 2009

Healthcare Reform: This is Not the Bill You Want to Read

Filed under: Budget, Citizen rights, Congress, Economy, Government, Legal, Medicine, Politics, Rants, Take action — cynicalsynapse @ 3:13 pm

“These are not the droids you’re looking for.”

Excuse me? There’s an old saying: the devil is in the details. A corollary of that: we’d rather the devil we know than the one we don’t. None of that matters to Democrats on the Senate Finance Committe, however. Yesterday the Baucus Caucus defeated a measure to make the bill public. Kentucky Republic Sen. Jim Bunning proposed the ammendment to give constituents the opportunity to review and comment on the bill. That’s a pretty radical concept for a representative democracy.

The Washington Examiner says Sen. Max Baucus claims it’s too difficult to put health care bill online. Baucus (D-MT), Finance Committee Chairman, said it would take his staff two weeks to post the bill on the web. So, how long did it take to post the 223 page Chairman’s Mark document, the plain-English version the Finance Committee agreed to post “before the vote”? And how before the vote do they mean? Nanoseconds? And who wrote and posted the 98 page Call to Action document? Here’s a thought: if the Finance Committee’s staff is so incompetent they can’t make an Adobe document, upload it, and put a link on the website, fire them. That might help the deficit problem just a tad.

Instead, the issue is really politics. Committee member John Kerry (D-MA) said Bunning’s ammendment “is fundamentally a delay tactic.” Um, giving people time to read the legal language, rather than make-believe plain English, is the morally correct thing to do. Since legislators themselves don’t see a need to read bills, their constituents need the time. How else can they let their representatives and senators know how they want votes cast?

Our so-called representatives, in both the House and Senate, are missing a key point. As House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said Wednesday:

The American people are angry that Speaker Pelosi didn’t allow the public and their elected representatives to read the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ bill or the national energy tax before they were rammed through the House. Congress can, and must, do better.

At least Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking Finance Committee member, gets it. “It’s what [the public] expects us to do anyway—read a bill before you vote on it.” Don’t stand for your representatives passing secret legislation. Tell your Senators and US Represenative you will not tolerate them voting for bills not posted for public review and comment. Elections are coming and they serve at our pleasure, not theirs.

HT: theblogprof



  1. This business of posting the content of critical bills on line is long past it’s due. It should have started years ago. And I don’t mean after it has been passed. I personally believe that every American should have the opportunity to look at them before it is passed into law; we certainly have the right. If that had been done during the 2001 and 2003 tax cut bills and the Medicare reform bill in 2003, millions of people would have known before hand who was getting screwed and who wasn’t. And everyone would have known that annual budget proposals didn’t reflect the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, we would have known what our tax money was being spent on in the so-called stimulus bill earlier this year.

    I would tell all 535 people in Congress that they couldn’t run for election again if any of their bills weren’t posted on line; including their earmarks – before being passed. Then we need to figure a way to prevent what happened when the first health care reform bill was posted on line. Those “death panel” lies, along with several others, is what killed any real & meaningful discussion and debate on the bill, which had plenty in it to be debated. We’d be much farther ahead today had we been more concerned with affecting meaningful legislation than with advancing political ideology and party agenda.

    So today I am sending an email to my Senator and my Representative (both Republicans) saying that I expect them to push getting the Baucus bill (and anyone else’s bill) on line, and that I fully expect them to do the same thing in the future when the tables are turned.

    Comment by The Old Man — Wed, 30 Sep 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  2. I agree 100%! How can we let our representatives know how we want them to vote if we don’t know what’s being voted on? Especially since they don’t read the bills.

    Thanks for emailing your Senators and Representive. Mine are all Democrats and one sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee. She’s part of the Baucus Caucus, I’m affraid.

    Comment by Cynical Synapse — Wed, 30 Sep 2009 @ 4:38 pm

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