FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Reps. Barton & Upton to Rep. Waxman: What’s the rush?
In your March 27 letter to President Obama concerning climate legislation in the 111th Congress, you seemed to agree. You told the President that “hearings, markups, and regular order are the best way to forge the compromises that will unite members from all parts of the country. As we work to achieve this consensus, we hope Republican members of our committee and of the full House will join the process too, so that truly bipartisan answers can be developed.”
However, your self-imposed Memorial Day deadline for reporting this bill necessarily requires that we short-circuit the logical legislative process that our democracy thrives on, and replace it with a frantic rush to judgment.
What is the hurry? If we wanted a bill sure to embarrass our committee, this is precisely the process we would adopt to create one. It began with secret negotiations, moved on to a decision to skip subcommittee consideration altogether, and now we face a scheduled markup. We appreciate that today you provided us with a copy of your revised language in the form of an introduced bill—H.R. 2454—that is 284 pages longer than your original draft. However, since the House is not in session today and will not be voting until Monday evening, Members will not have had any meaningful chance to even look at your new language; much less try and understand it before you start the markup. Not that this would make any difference, as we understand that you will be offering a complete substitute amendment at the markup that we will not see until it is offered. Mr. Chairman, this is no way to write any public law, much less one that will transform the way every person in our country lives and works.
It is, however, a way to get swifly passed what even the New York Times concedes is a bill that has been subject to intense negotiations among Democratic politicians. In other words, the Democrats are using the same procedure as for that useless ‘stimulus’ package that they foisted on us earlier: freeze out the GOP, give as few concessions as possible to Democrats occupying Republican districts, keep the entire thing under wraps for as long as possible, give no opportunity for alterations or alternatives – and, of course, bald-face lie about all of their previous actions.
And do you know something?
Fine. Own this bill, Democrats. Shut us out completely, and as loudly as you can.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.