…or without representation period, if you think about it.
Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe: Lawmakers, read the bills before you vote
…Steny Hoyer thought it was hilarious.
Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, is the majority leader in the House of Representatives. At a news conference last week, he was talking about the healthcare overhaul being drafted on Capitol Hill, and a reporter asked whether he would support a pledge committing members of Congress to read the bill before voting on it, and to make the full text of the legislation available to the public online for 72 hours before the vote takes place.
That, reported CNSNews, gave Hoyer the giggles: The majority leader “found the idea of the pledge humorous, laughing as he responded to the question. ‘I’m laughing because . . . I don’t know how long this bill is going to be, but it’s going to be a very long bill,’ he said.”
Then came one of those classic Washington gaffes that Michael Kinsley famously defined as “when a politician tells the truth.” Hoyer conceded that if lawmakers had to carefully study the bill ahead of time, they would never vote for it. “If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes,” he said. The majority leader was declaring, in other words, that it is more important for Congress to pass the bill than to understand it.
Do you think elected officials should be held accountable for the legislation they pass? I do, and I think it would be good if they were held accountable for ignorance. Anyone who admits they didn’t read legislation they voted for should be ipso facto stripped of office.
Such a rule would certainly moderate a hasty legislative process to the approximate reading speed of Maxine Waters, and it would definitely wipe the smile off Steny Hoyer’s smug mug. For accountability, we could have tests immediately following the vote to see if they had read the bill. Three successive grades below a “C” and the recall vote is automatically authorized in their home state. Who knows, long term it could also result in much simplification.
Hoyer says he has no expectation that his party will read the Health Care Nationalization bill and implies he doesn’t care if anybody else gets to read it either. Truly, this arrogance should be punished.
We know our “representatives” didn’t read TARP, they didn’t read the Stimulus bill, they didn’t read the Supplemental Spending bill, and they didn’t read the Carbon Tax bill (1300 pages not even published until after debate started).
The Majority Leader thinks that’s amusing. I don’t. I think it clear evidence of taxation without representation. When taxes are imposed by legislators who have no idea what they are voting on it mocks the concept of representation.
Do you think you’re being represented when the leadership laughingly encourages nonfeasance while practicing malfeasance?
Even Barney Frank, when he votes for something, reserves the right to change his mind because, “we were at the end of a very long mark-up on a very important Bill dealing with stopping predatory lending, and it did not get the attention I should have given it. I looked at it. I thought it was OK. I didn’t read it carefully.”
He can’t even bring himself to say “I didn’t give it the attention I should have,” but if Barney gets a mulligan, so should the voters. Aside from the fact that the amendment he didn’t read would have defunded ACORN, it is confusing that he thinks he should have read it at all: He is perfectly fine with voting for many things he’s never read. And no wonder, it makes his job easier later if a bill is unclear or incoherent.
Frank and Boston bank defend bailout help
House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank yesterday confirmed a report that he asked a Treasury Department official to consider giving bailout money to Boston’s troubled OneUnited Bank – which ended up getting a $12 million federal loan – but Frank said the action was a legitimate effort to protect the only minority-owned bank in Massachusetts.
…OneUnited was dealing with an investigation by bank regulators. In October, federal and state regulators entered into a “cease and desist” order with OneUnited, citing problems with inadequate capital, a failure to provide adequate supervision, and the bank’s “excessive compensation, fees and benefits to its senior executive officers.” The bank, for example, was required to stop paying expenses related to a California beach home and to stop providing a bank-owned Porsche SUV to executives.
Frank’s defense was not that the bank was well managed but unlucky, or that it passed a stress test, or that not bailing it out threatened the US financial system. No, he justified his intervention based on skin color. He was not alone.
Waters Helped Bank Whose Stock She Once Owned
…Mr. [Sidney] Williams [husband of Rep. Maxine Waters] continued to hold varying amount of the company’s stock. In the lawmaker’s most recent financial-disclosure form, dated May 2008 and covering the prior year, Ms. Waters reported that her husband held between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of the bank’s stock.
Mr. Williams also received interest payments from a separate holding at the bank, also worth between $250,000 and $500,000.
…In January, Ms. Waters acknowledged she made a call to the Treasury on OneUnited’s behalf. The bank’s capital, which was heavily invested in shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was all but wiped out with the federal takeover of the two mortgage giants, and the bank was seeking help from regulators.
OneUnited eventually secured bailout funds under the government’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was set up later that month.
Ironic, no, that this bank needed a bailout because they believed Congressman Frank when he loudly insisted there was no cause for worry about Fannie or Freddie, institutions he promoted past on the same “minority” basis? “Minorities” who, more often than not, ended up screwed by Frank’s policies.
And it goes on…
Sen. Inouye makes phone call, bank gets bailout money
When the bank bailout money was being distributed, Sen. K. Inouye discovered that the bank he helped establish and in which he had invested most of his personal wealth was not on the list, it took a phone call or two to fill its coffers.
Gov. Ritter Steered Stimulus Money To Ex-Employer
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has awarded some of the state’s first stimulus money to his former employer in a no-bid contract.
Ritter hired his former law firm, the Washington-based Hogan & Hartson, in a no-bid contract to review stimulus spending, The Denver Post reported Friday. It said the firm was paid $40,000 in stimulus money through June.
FAA Approves Plan to Give Stimulus Funds to Airport Named After Murtha
The Washington Post reported last month on more than $150 million in federal funds that Murtha directed to the airport, which has six arriving and departing flights per day. Among the improvements, Murtha directed the Pentagon to give the airport a new, $8 million, state-of-the-art radar tower that has not been used since it was built in 2004, and $30 million for a new runway and tarmac so the airport could handle large military planes and become an emergency military base in case of crisis.
Fed up yet?