Politics

Senate GOP Trying to Slow Democrats Down

| by FRC

Good reform comes to those who wait--or so says a frustrated group of Republicans and Democrats. In the Senate, where liberals are literally pushing bills through the chamber faster than leaders can write them, one coalition has said "enough!" Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) doesn't agree with his colleague from North Dakota, Senator Kent Conrad (D), who said last week, "Anybody who thinks that (the health care bill) is going to be transparent to the American people is really not telling it like it is."

In an effort to prove him wrong, Senator Bunning introduced a resolution today that would require a modest 72-hour waiting period before his chamber can vote on a bill. He tried to pass a similar constraint in the Senate Finance Committee last week but failed by a razor-thin margin. Under his measure, the leadership would be forced to post its bills online and give the American public (and Congress) three whole days to review them.

Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), the only Democrat to vote with the GOP in favor of Bunning's original resolution, is piling on with a push for her leadership to do the same. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (signed by seven other Democrats), she makes an appeal for greater openness in this process. "As their democratically-elected representatives...it is our duty to listen to [the people's] concerns and provide them with the chance to respond to proposals that will impact their lives."

But not every Democrat wants to include voters in the legislative process. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) accused Republicans of stalling the debate. "They dream up new ways to slow things down every week," he said. Interestingly enough, this push for greater transparency didn't originate with Republicans--but the President. As recently as last winter, "no more secrecy" was a cornerstone of Barack Obama's campaign. He promised, if elected, that the public would have five days to review and comment on any piece of non-emergency legislation before he signed it. Since then, the White House has essentially said, "define transparency." Now that Congress is trying, the Left wants no part of it.

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