Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Death of Transparency

The basic rule of Bamster-watching remains intact. If he says something you can be certain that he will do the exact opposite. He promised a new era of openness and transparency in our governmental activity coupled with bipartisanship and he is delivering the darkest legislative process and strongest majority party dictatorship we have ever seen. It is nice that we still have some things upon which we can depend. He is as good as the opposite of his word.

When the sausage makers reconvene in two weeks they will have two healthcare reform bills on the table; one in the House and one in the Senate. That means the two bills will need to be resolved and that is traditionally done in a conference committee. Senior legislators from each chamber will assemble to resolve the differences. Here's a refresher course:

The Work of a Conference Committee

But what will this Congress do? Here's how it is shaking out:

Healthcare Bill May Avoid GOP

Not only will the minority party not get to discuss the bill or have an input, they won't even be privy to the discussions or have a vote to cast during the pseudo-conference. That sort of moots the purported advantages of a bicameral legislature or even the concept of a representative democracy. But, do you want more? How about this:

Democratic aides said the final compromise talks would essentially be a three-way negotiation involving top Democrats in the House and Senate and the White House, a structure that gives unusual latitude to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

A "three-way negotiation involving...the White House..." Wasn't there something in the Constitution about separation of powers? What is the White House doing sitting in on a legislative activity? Isn't this beginning to look a bit like a parliamentary process rather than a presidential republic? Or worse, isn't it a bit reminiscent of a monarcy or dictatorship in which the supreme leader directs the legislative council on how the law should be written.

C-SPAN Wants to Watch

Where is the outrage?

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