A "stimulus" bill that's anything but transparent.
In his closing remarks on the stimulus bill yesterday, House Appropriations Chairman David Obey called it "the largest change in domestic policy since the 1930s." We'd say more like the 1960s, which is bad enough, but his point about the bill's magnitude is right. The 1,073-page monstrosity includes the biggest spending increase since World War II, but more important is the fine print expanding the role of the federal government across the breadth of American business, health care, energy and welfare policy.
Given those stakes, you might think Congress would get more than a few hours to debate it. But, no, yesterday's roll call votes came less than 24 hours after House-Senate conferees had agreed to their deal. Democrats rushed the bill to the floor before Members could even read it, much less have time to broadcast the details so the public could offer its verdict.
So much for Democratic promises of a new era of transparency. Only this Tuesday the House unanimously approved a resolution promising 48-hour public notice before holding a roll call. Even better, the bill could have been posted on the Internet, as candidate Barack Obama suggested during the campaign. Let voters see what they're getting for all this money. Not a chance.
This high-handed endgame follows the pattern of this bill from the start, with Republicans all but ignored until Democrats let three GOP Senators nibble around the edges to prevent a filibuster. With their huge majorities, Mr. Obey and Democrats got their epic victory. But far from a new, transparent way of governing, this bill represents the kind of old-fashioned partisan politics that Tom DeLay would have admired.
Congress Passes 1,073-Page Stimulus Bill With Only a Few Hours' Debate - WSJ.com