Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Danger of Hasty Passage of Massive Legislation

It is never too much to ask members of congress to make informed decisions. Clearly, informed decision-making is a necessity when the decisions affect each of us on a massive scale. However, in today’s congressional environment, a call for effort…a call for responsibility…a call for general decency is met with upturned noses and a resounding “frankly I don’t give a da… (Well we all know what they don’t give).”

But we still give. We give our votes, our support, our money, and countless other things to these scoundrels. Sure, we don’t always gladly do it. At times we begrudgingly claim our support was only given in the interest of choosing “the lesser of two evils.” Well I don’t choose evil, and I don’t believe in subsidizing failure. So what is my remedy? Send the cowards home.

If one does not do one’s job, one is fired. I don’t care if they are a service/manufacturing employee, president, congressman, or governor.

So you might ask, “What is he railing against this time?”

The Washington Times reports:

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday turned back a Republican amendment to wait 72 hours and require a full cost estimate before the final committee vote on the health care reform bill [There was one democratic defector to be fair].

…The amendment would have delayed a vote on the final bill for about two weeks to allow the Congressional Budget Office to complete its final analysis on the cost and implications of the legislation.

What we see here is not an unreasonable request. The measure would have allowed each side to have a chance to read the massive bill as well as to have a full CBO report on projected costs of the bill.

I believe Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) was correct in noting, “This was fundamentally a delay tactic.” Yes, it probably was, but there are two main reasons why that should not matter.

First: Sen. Grassley was right when he claimed, "It's what [the public] expects us to do anyway -- read a bill before you vote on it." We expect it because we expect decisions to be informed and complete. These bills are massive and stuffed with all types of questionable appropriations and mandates. When someone swears to protect the Constitution of the United States, as all congressmen do, he must look to the bills content to see if it runs afoul to the supreme law of the land. It is in the job subscription, and it is necessary.

Second: Why are you afraid of delay, Sen. Kerry? Sir, I don’t know if you have ever read JRR Tolkien, but perhaps you should take the advice of Treebeard and “don’t be so hasty.” What you are doing in DC is of long-term significance. If we need health insurance reform, let it be done in a manner that will provide sound results. Let the job be thorough, and do it right. Our nation is not served by a bill slapped together by special interests and pushed through at a pace unbefitting of democratic discourse.

This is not the first time that the reading of a bill has been discouraged and neglected. It has happened many times before, and I am sure it will happen many times in the future. Moreover, this behavior is truly problematic and a grave threat to our liberty.

Most bills are too long, and there is no need for it to be so. Length does not guarantee thoroughness or competence. The only guarantee length provides is the guarantee of more hiding places for pork and unconstitutional clauses to hide and wait.

Some of our “best” bills ever before congress have been short and to the point. Many of these bills were written by lawmakers and framed with the people’s interest at heart. This is not the case with most of our major pieces of legislation in this day in age. Our “lawmakers” vote on pork-bloated patchworks that are framed by special interest groups whose main focus is their own profits and pocket-lining.

This truth is merely a result of how we as a society view government. As we look at government as our keeper and sole provider, we should not be surprised that powerful interests groups hold the same view. In a government based on looting and a "get while the getting’s good" attitude, these interests are merely acting out the beliefs held by many in society.

With this I will conclude: hasty passage of large bills is a danger to our liberties.

Many of the same Republicans now calling foul as the Democrats pass a bloated, unconstitutional bill were the same ones trying to ram an bloated, unconstitutional “Patriot Act” down the throats of the American people at an alarmingly rapid pace.

What was left behind was a mistake, an infringement of civil liberties, and an America no safer. In fact, the sole result was an America whose citizens needed only to look to unchecked government violations of constitutional protection to find a true source of terror.

Big bills can be dangerous based on the nature of the beast; unread big bills passed in haste are even worse.

The worst of all, however, are laws that are not passed in pursuance to the constitution and treated as the supreme law of the land.

Let’s hold our elected officials accountable in both the fruits of their labor and the steps taken to get there.

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