Transparency Thwarted


Today’s edition of the New York Times has an op-ed highlighting a provision that’s buried within the newly enacted Honest Leadership and Open Government Act that compromises the intended transparency. 

As we know, members of conference committees often secretly inserted earmarks and other items into already finalized bills. To combat this, the Senate instituted new rules saying that any individual senator can object to such provisions, threatening the whole bill. In  the category of giving with one hand and taking away another, the Senate also said that they could vote to waive all objections to any bill. If 60 senators agree, all the provisions are approved.

No great surprise that this gives new power to the majority party especially if the majority has close to 60 votes. A dissenting senator would have to muster 41 votes to stop the process. In the very bill meant to open up the bill writing process , we have a new technique to thwart openness and transparency. Harumph.