Thursday, September 24, 2009
It’s been a bad and telling couple of days for our democracy.
The Senate Finance Committee has voted against language which would have required the Senate to post its healthcare reform bill on the Internet for public review before voting on it.* To their credit, it has been Republicans in both the House and the Senate who are the ones pushing for this public review – and for updated information from the Congressional Budget Office. It’s the Democrats, in marked contradiction to candidate Obama’s promise of a transparent government, who are opposing allowing the public time to study this legislation prior taking a vote.
Just to be clear, the Republicans are asking for only a measly 72 hours during which the public – ordinary citizens like you and me – would have to read over 1,000 pages of complex, comprehensive healthcare reform legislation, think about it, talk among ourselves and convey our opinions to our Congressmen and Senators who would then need days to sort through the deluge of comments they’re likely to receive. All this in just 72 hours, and the Democrats won’t even give us that? What in the world are they so worried about?
To be fair, they’re probably more concerned about what the Congressional Budget Office might tell us. Either way, this healthcare reform legislative process has just gone from “difficult” to “nuts.”
There’s a common sense rule in business that the more the other side is pushing to close a deal, the more carefully you need to look at what they’re offering. This is one of those times.
More importantly, there’s a bigger issue at play here than healthcare reform. What the Democrats – and we’ve got to include President Obama – are telling us is that we, the people, are not even allowed a peripheral role in the legislative process. Legislation is their business. They, the Democrats in Congress, will determine when we’re allowed to speak and under what circumstances. What arrogance. Fair enough. We’ll just wait until Tuesday, November 2, 2010 and let them know what we think when it’s our turn.