Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Democratic Plans for Health Bill Secrecy

Today there have been multiple reports that congressional Democrats intend to craft the next round of healthcare legislation in secret (here and here). In order to go before the president the current House and Senate versions of the bill must be reconciled. And, according to reports, the Democratic leadership wants to exclude Republicans as well as the public eye from this reconciliation process.

Sadly, this type of behavior is nothing new from a Democratic leadership which once claimed its desire to for transparency and bipartisanship. Of course, we have received much of the same actions from the Democrats that they spoke against--done, however, at an accelerated and, therefore, even more dangerous pace. There has been no transparency, no working together (not that I am saying this particularly must exist), and no honesty. Rather, unconstitutional measures have been continually rammed down our throat at an increasingly alarming rate.

I fear this latest development merely because I have witnessed what has occurred in our recent legislative history. We have seen bloated bill after bloated bill hastily passed without anyone reading its contents. Stuffed with pork, unconstitutional mandates, and the vilest of measures, we have seen bills continually ram-rodded through Congress.

Surely, if a bill is scripted in secret, behind closed doors, we can bank on the bill being presented for passage without proper time for reading and research. Moreover, why the need for secrecy? Even if you desire for the Republicans to be left out of the discussion, why can't they sit in the hearings and see what the legislation will contain? Even more puzzling is this: Democrats won't even let the public know what will be going on in their closed doors meetings.

This is truly troubling. We must demand transparency and keep an eye on this as it develops. It smacks of ill intent and is too important to go unchecked. This legislation will alter the lives of people for generations to come. Hopefully, the right thing will be done.

To these Congressional Democrats I echo the words of former-President John F. Kennedy:

The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers, which are cited to justify it.

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