Democrats Still Against Transparency in Congress

According to McClatchy news, in the Democrat’s 2006 campaign book, in the “integrity” section, the Democratic leadership vowed that legislation would be posted online for 24 hours before consideration of the final versions of any bill. That promise coupled with their president’s claims that he’d post all bills online for five whole days — that’s 120 hours in case anyone’s counting — not to mention his now hoary claim that he’d put all debates on C-Span so that we the people could keep tabs on what Congress is doing makes for a facade of a deep interest in government transparency. And facade it has turned out to be for all these promises have been completely forgotten now that Democrats have taken up the reins of power.

Obviously the campaign was “then” and having power is “now.” In the minds of Democrats, the two bear no relationship one to the other showing that campaign promises are so much wind and bombast never meant to be taken seriously. In other words, lies.

In keeping with the light speed at which Democrats are running away from transparency, we find few Congressional Dems supporting the Baird/Walden discharge petition. (I covered this issue last month, and earlier this month) This measure would institute a House rules change and require bills to be posted online for 72 hours before a floor vote.

Since last month Rep. Greg Walden (R, Ore.) has been trying to get the required 218 signatures among his House colleagues but he’s been stymied at the 182 Republicans and a small handful of Democrats that he started with. Speaker Pelosi has been warning her caucus not to sign the discharge petition that would put the new rule immediately into operation.

Every article I have seen on this matter uselessly brings up the fact that Republicans weren’t themselves much interested in any 72 hour transparency rule when they controlled the House in 2004 and earlier.

First of all, the Internet wasn’t nearly as integral then as now to the news cycle nor was it as widespread as a platform for public information. But even that aside, it is a meaningless point. Sure, maybe they weren’t for transparency then and are now only because they are out of power. But, who cares? The fact is, no matter who is in power this effort at government transparency is a good idea. No matter what party wants to hide behind arcane procedural rules to keep the public in the dark about what they are doing in Congress it’s a bad thing.

This bill could go a little way toward shedding light on our lawmakers. Brightly lit Democrats, Republicans out in the open… both are a good thing.

Urge your Congressman, especially if he is a Democrat, to sign the Walden discharge petition.

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