1,073 pages that are clear as mud — details lacking, transparency none, in stimulus bill
The Democrats are feeling a victory of sorts having muscled through a $787 billion stimulus bill late Friday night. Three Republicans in the Senate voted for it and not one vote came from a Republican in the house. Besides the hyper-partisanship on display, the Democrats and, especially President Barack Obama, have broke promises on transparency and have conducted themselves with same kind of finesse as a numerically superior prison gang.
On passing the bill the Democrats published the documents in .pdf files format so that it will make it much harder for the public to do searches using key words. In other words, it would take hours to find certain key interests in the bill because you would have to read through the entire door stop. Furthermore, the format is just the imaging of the text. Why? To prevent the public from doing text searches of the bill. [Go here to see the bill in all its glory]
Here is an interesting part of the bill that shows why Democrats are not too forthcoming with it contents. Connie Hair writing for Human Events provides us with this tidbit.
We searched the bill randomly — the only way possible — to see what’s being hidden from the public and the members of Congress who will be voting on the bill today. We found one provision that may be a good example of why the Democrats are desperate to stop any exposure of what is in this bill. Like this gem:
SEC. 1607. (a) CERTIFICATION BY GOVERNOR — Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, for funds provided to any State or agency thereof, the Governor of the State shall certify that: 1) the State request and use funds provided by this Act , and; 2) funds be used to create jobs and promote economic growth.
(b) ACCEPTANCE BY STATE LEGISLATURE — If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State. (“Democrats Delay Bill Release to Conceal Details”)
This provision — apparently aimed at conservative governors such as South Carolina’s Mark Sanford who does not want the federal money — would overturn state laws and constitutions, intervening directly in the state’s government to give the legislature the power to overturn a government’s decision.
This provision probably violates the U.S. Constitution, a matter which will be of no concern to Congressional Democrats.
This act — to strong-arm state governments and a governor’s ability to control the state budget — is Chicago-style bipartisanship.
Considering the size, scope, weight, and the overarching monstrosity of the 9-inch thick bill that Congress could do a little better job in preparing it and releasing it especially since the country is about to start spending like never before. The bill was rushed to the floor before members had a chance to read it and it was passed quickly before the details could be released. But, as pointed out before, that little nuisance has been remedied by the Democrats.
So much for Democratic promises of a new era of transparency. Only this Tuesday the House unanimously approved a resolution promising 48-hour public notice before holding a roll call. Even better, the bill could have been posted on the Internet, as candidate Barack Obama suggested during the campaign. Let voters see what they’re getting for all this money. Not a chance.
This high-handed endgame follows the pattern of this bill from the start, with Republicans all but ignored until Democrats let three GOP Senators nibble around the edges to prevent a filibuster. With their huge majorities, Mr. Obey and Democrats got their epic victory. But far from a new, transparent way of governing, this bill represents the kind of old-fashioned partisan politics that Tom DeLay would have admired. (Wall Street Journal)
Of course, we know that the Democrats and President Obama vowed to offer unprecedented transparency in passing legislation. It was part of the whole campaign on changing how Washington was ran. That promise has obviously been broken by a near criminal move on the parts of Democrats. The only change that has taken place has been one for the worse. Now we are seeing increased partisanship and a daringly mischievous and dangerously emboldened House Democrats. As GOP Leader, Congressman Boehner points out on the House Floor (Youtube video)