Friday, March 19, 2010

Slaughter House Rules

The people of Congress have adopted the Slaughter rule. In a close vote of 222-203, the House now can deem to have passed anything the Senate gets through its august body. White House spokesman Gibbs has already hedged about whether the rule will be used for other bills than healthcare so I'd say it's a fair bet that all future legislation will be run through whichever party friendly chamber can pass it first to get rubber stamped by its fellows in the opposite chamber after a few pork laden adjustments. The entire legislative body will have mastered how to vote “Present” and still get major graft in the process.

Why have votes at all if they can be rendered unnecessary?

We deem Cap and Trade to pass. We deem Stimulus II to pass. We deem that all Republicans shall be taxed at 300% to pass. We deem that we are elected for life shall pass. We deem that this judicial nominee shall be seated. We deem that this industry shall become nonprofit. We deem that this nonprofit may not do what it does. We deem that the Fairness doctrine shall be in place. We deem and it is passed. The deliberative part of crafting a bill has been eliminated. The declarative part that requires people to stand up and be counted so they can be held accountable has also been circumvented. Laws need only be drawn up and approved by one part of the legislative branch to get to the Executive. Couple this mischief with Executive Orders and we don't have much of the legislative process left that actually concerns the whole of the Republic.

The pernicious element of the Slaughter rule is that it speeds up the rate at which legislation might be made. Pork deals used to undermine bills such that Congress would then opt for the leaner versions that could pass. Legislators now no longer have to worry about sinking a bill at all via excessive pork pet projects. The members of the House can just add in after the fact as much as they wish. Alternatively, they can gut an entire bill of its teeth if the body affects their political chances. The Slaughter rule establishes a procedure that will allow Congress to spend even more recklessly than before. (Hard to imagine but technically possible). It's a lot easier to pass a bill if you only have to persuade one part of the legislative body and it’s even better if you no longer have to worry about your constituents being made uneasy by your plans.

The whole purpose of having the two houses and the process of reconciliation was to help strip away pork from bills; to make sure that the people’s will was being properly represented before the bills became law. Now Nancy's statement about healthcare will make sense because it will become the norm. People won't know what has been put in the bill until it has been passed, because the stuffing of amendments won't occur until after a bill makes it through either the House or the Senate. The legislators from the opposite deliberative body shall stand poised at the ready once a bill gets through the voting process, ready to bloat it to satisfy their various cronies, flunkies, toadies, lobbyists and lackies. The vetting of the bill will take place prior to the application of deals; so a bill will appear far more pure and garner less public rancor before it “poof” becomes ready for signage by the President with possibly a whole lot of less savory extras that we only get to discover after they have the force of law.  If you're okay with this, just pretend it was the opposite power in party and pick a project you loathe and imagine how you would feel.  Again, the arguement that Republicans did it first or before does not mean they should have or that you should be okay with it then or now.   A corrupt sleazy process is a corrupt sleazy process.  The R or the D is irrelevant.

We are being taken out of the legislative process entirely; we just get to foot the bill. But I'm sure since they're all such honorable people committed to public service and the public good that we have nothing at all to worry about.

No nothing at all.


Maria Fernanda McClure said...

Nothing. At all. That's what we're getting. And that's something to worry about.

MightyMom said...

didn't these people take PolySci???

didn't they study WHY our system of government was established the way it was.

didn't they learn the precise method and necessity of the checks and balances?



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