Columbian (Vancouver, WA): "It’s Billions, Take Time" (3/23/06)

“It will be interesting to see who will step forward in Congress to oppose Baird’s resolution, and specify why. We cannot fathom what their reasons might be.”

Excerpts follow:

The Columbian (Vancouver, Washington)
March 23, 2006
“In Our View: It’s Billions; Take Time”

On a recent sunny day Brian Baird posed for a photograph near the U.S. Capitol with the 1,645-page 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Act. He was smiling, perhaps at his ability to hold aloft an enormous document that’s not called Omnibus for nothing.

But the smile disguised his frustration. As a Democratic U.S. representative from Vancouver, he had been given only 16 hours to study the corpulent document, and then vote on its $820 billion in federal spending.

There are other examples of expensive, warp-speed decisions by a Congress that in other ways acts too sluggishly. Why the rush? Often it’s to hide pork or use haste to force representatives to vote against their wishes.

Baird has a solution that will work for Congress and also allow the public into the review process. His House Resolution 688, if adopted by the House, would require that legislation be posted online and available to members of Congress and the public, in a searchable format, for 72 hours before being voted upon.

Baird’s 72-hour resolution would allow Congress sufficient period to review bills…. His colleagues in the House are urged to approve the resolution…. It will be interesting to see who will step forward in Congress to oppose Baird’s resolution, and specify why. We cannot fathom what their reasons might be.

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