So much for those promises of transparency.
According to the Associated Press, the Democrats have rejected an amendment put forth by Republicans which would have required any health care reform bill to be made publicly available online before the Senate Finance Committee votes.
In case you didn’t get that, here’s a simple, step-by-step run-down of what just happened:
- The Democrats intend to push health care reform down the throats of America, sans gloves or tongue depressor, by not only using a simple-majority (“reconciliation”) process reserved for budget issues, but by doing everything they can to obfuscate the contents of any such legislation. This we know. This is nothing new. They’re Democrats, of course.
- The Republicans, sensing that the Democrats are going to ram the bill through and believing that the American people should have a chance to see and read the text of the single-largest entitlement program in our nation’s history before it gets voted on by the Senate Finance Committee, propose an amendment requiring that the American people get that chance.
- The Democrats say reject the amendment, and in doing so refuse to permit the American people to view the pre-vote bill.
Now, let’s be sure to get our facts straight — this is not the final health care reform bill we’re talking about here. The specific transparency promises made (and already broken) by the president, if we’re going to be a stickler for context, included an assurance that America would have a few days before the final bill was signed. What we’re talking about here is the pre-vote bill.
That being said, it doesn’t make it any less significant that Republicans actively petitioned for sunshine on behalf of the American people–even noting that they were under pressure from constituents to read legislation before signing it–and the Democrats flatly said “no.”
One of the folks I’ve started to like more and more when it comes to holding Democrats accountable for the expansion of government and erosion of liberty through efforts like socialized health care reform and cap-and-trade is House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence. Even though this particular matter is centered in the Senate Finance Committee, I wanted to see what Pence had to say about the Democrats’ blatant attempts at obfuscation, so I asked his office for a statement from the congressman. Next thing you know, they sent out a press release:
Washington, DC - U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, made the following statement today after Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR-02), Rep. John Culberson (R-TX-07) and Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA-03) began circulating a discharge petition that will require the Democrat Majority to give Members of Congress, and the American public, 72 hours to review legislation before it is brought up for a vote in the House of Representatives:
“I encourage my colleagues to support this bipartisan effort to bring some transparency back to the legislative process. Members of Congress should read every major piece of legislation before casting their vote. Congress and the American people deserve three days to read the bills. This discharge petition is a critical step in the right direction. I am proud to support the effort of Representatives Greg Walden, John Culberson and Brian Baird.
“President Obama and Speaker Pelosi promised to bring transparency and accountability back to Washington. Over the last nine months this promise has been broken time and time again. It began with a flawed stimulus bill that the American public and House Members were not afforded time to read, and continued with the vote on the Democrats’ national energy tax. The American people are losing confidence in the work of their elected leaders as bills running longer than a thousand pages are rushed to the president’s desk without an opportunity for Members to learn what they are voting on. We have a responsibility to do better.”
For a second there, I almost got sincerely impressed with myself. Then I realized that it’s not like he’s taking my calls or anything. Maybe next time.
- Check back here in a little while to see some of the things the Democrats don’t want you to know about the Baucus plan.
- For a look at health care reform solutions being proposed by Republicans, click HERE.