Transparency Testimony Interrupted by Reconciliation Obstructionism

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“Sunlight is the best of disinfectants…” Those were practically the last words out of the mouth of the Sunlight Foundation’s Executive Director Ellen Miller as a hearing on federal financial management and transparency was ground to a halt by obstructive roadblocks thrown up by the minority in the wake of the approval to move forward and debate a reconciliation package that contains fixes to the newly minted health care reform law.

Senate rules require that hearings held after 2 p.m. be approved by unanimous consent to continue. After the Democratic majority won passage of a motion to proceed to debate the reconciliation bill by a vote of 56-40, Republicans refused to consent to the continuation of hearings. The Republicans also lost in an attempt to block the reconciliation package when Senate Parliamentarian ruled against an objection to the way an excise tax is used to fund the health care law.

Two other committee hearings were canceled including the one featuring the Sunlight Foundation’s Miller. These included a Commerce Committee hearing on broadband policy and an Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing.

See the video below for the moment of cancellation. Also included is the testimony that Ellen was scheduled to deliver. To download a copy of the testimony, click here.
Testimony: Sunlight Foundation Senate Committee on Homeland Security

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  • Packeryman

    I am an Independent and feel most of our representatives on both sides are owned by corporate via lobbyists monies. But the reactionary political ideology of the GOP has created obstructionist and the party of NO. These guys are playing to their far right and religious base. This is not good for the nation.They seem to want to follow their de facto leader(Limbaugh), flush and purge the party of moderates and rhinos. They have done it, Now what do they have 22 to 24 % of voters, the hard right wing? Voters are going to remember this obstructionism. The economy is beginning to recover with stock market, housing, retail sales, and the mood across the country is changing . Employment the last to return is beginning to return. That will never fully return until we revisit all trade agreements and make then fair not free trade agreements. But at the same time all the right wing am radio shock jocks are playing down the economy(doom and gloom).If the economy comes back the Republicans will loose big at the polls.The Republicans have a problem because their sheep that follow these shocks jocks don’t understand what they are following Most were DJ’s spinning records, druggies, alcoholics,and draft dodgers, over night corporate made them all knowing political gurus(talk show host)putting them on hundreds of syndicated stations. They have found the more hate and discontent they can spew the more the right wing sheep like it. This does not help the GOP or the nation. It creates division and lets corporate run wild over the people.

  • Anton

    “Democrats didn’t have the power or the numbers, Rina? Hahahaha Did you not hear of the Dems filibustering Bush’s judicial nominees?”

    We are talking about degrees of difference, not that one side doesn’t obstruct and one side does. Why don’t you look into the Dem blocking of Bush’s judicial nominees and what’s happening now? Which side required cloture, and which side didn’t? 70% of Bush’s first term judicial nominees were confirmed. As of Mar. 15th, only 17 of Obama’s 52 nominees have been. Does 70% = 33%?

    I’m not sure what else to tell you…can you tell a cloudy day from night?

  • G

    It’s really discouraging to see all of our politician acting worse than any 2 year olds. They all need to be sent to a corner for some time to contemplate how to act like an adult. We are paying these people a lot of money to work together for the good of the country and stopping everything because they can is alarming. Bunch of babies!!

  • Kristen

    Obstructionism = Opposition. It’s all in which side is being thwarted. Both sides do it on regular basis. For the record, I am not a republican or a democrat and have nothing but contempt for most politicians today.

    Democrats didn’t have the power or the numbers, Rina? Hahahaha Did you not hear of the Dems filibustering Bush’s judicial nominees?
    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0316-02.htm

    And, what a coincidence, here we are today discussing the same tactics with the Dems in power…. Funny, funny.

    And what about this cute clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mqSXsNJzRM
    But I thought the poor minority dems had no power or numbers to “obstruct” anything?

    Wow. Robin. Chill.

    Again. My original point: why choose words that trigger a bunch of partican bickering with apparently both side advocates feeling the need to defend? Sunshine and transparency is critical if we want to shift the balance of power from politicians to citizens. Using a naïve, over-simplified “blame-game” tactic will not achieve results.

    Ellen Miller’s testimony will get recorded into the record at some point. I just don’t see this episode as having a partisan angle… it’s Washignton, it’s government, it’s how things work there. It’s not Repubs are such baddies and Dems are such goodies.

  • Rina

    RLO, they didn’t single out specific meetings, they shut down all of them. It is very much a ‘you won’t do it our way, so we’ll take our toys AND your toys, and go home’ moment. How is telling a bunch of experts and high level Generals to go cool their heels going to prove a point or make them look like anything but petulant children? It doesn’t have anything to do with debate on health care reform.

    Kristen, the Democrats couldn’t obstruct during the last administration, they didn’t have the power or numbers. I was a member of the GOP, and found it embarrassing how loudly they crowed that they ‘had a mandate’ so didn’t need to worry about bipartisanship and could just run through any legislation they wanted. Now I’m an Independent, because neither major party does what they were elected to do.

  • Ellen Miller’s testimony was cut off to prevent her from speaking about the need for transparancy and permanent records from HHS. This would in fact open up the Pandora’s Box of vast brain experiments, social engineering programs and hospital implantation into patients without their knowledge, of embedded devices and brain electrodes. It would have exposed the entire mind control network that is being put into place.

    McCain is working on the continuation of the FEMA facilities, paid for with DHS funds during the last administration to former V.P. Richard Cheney’s companies with plans for his other company Vanguard and their private prisons. This bill, S.3081 (The BIG BROTHER BILL) is in direct conflict with the testimony by Ellen Miller to open up Government information to the public online. These programs were classified illegally by Cheney for 85 years to hide these plans from the public. Those plans included “diseases” as excuses for Fema concentration camps and microchipping. As evidenced by the number of plastic coffins, there was not much expectancy of survival.

    The other hearing was directly from the top brass of the military, also against the power structure underway with Cheney, McCain, and AIPAC (Leiberman) as is very clear by the recently released reports by the FBI. This event is significant if it is not followed up by a re-scheduling. If not given a chance to submit her testimony, Ellen Miller’s cutoff will be the only evidence of the shutdown of the US Government, followed by a shutdown of the Internet by a military/communications network coup.

    The only suggested change for this testimony is the part about “manipulable”. This word needs to be understood in context of the Constitutional right to redress grievances, including hearsay, false accusations, and most importantly, subjective, non physical diagnosis of mental health. This is what is used illegally and falsely, to shut people up about human rights abuses if all else fails. It is also used to force Veterans onto drugs if they speak out against wars and conditions. There are thousands who are disappeared this way and are living their lives in insane asylums with no legal rights. This information would have been exposed if the testimony above becomes part of the debate. So would the Moon companies subcontracts with AT&T to “study what makes women untoward” that was described on camera by Israel Zerhouni as using remote communications methods. That means the women are embedded with brain electrodes and listened to, interacted with, and probably raped by paying customers of AT&T. This was a spinoff of the so-called Spy Program, for which they have immunity. Opening up the records for what otherwise is closed due to false “privacy” concerns is in the files at NIMH. So was the plan on Tamiflu and vaccines, which are the hot topic right now.

    Good luck to the Sunshine Foundation. We will be watching to see what happens.

  • Inigo Montoya

    You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Anton

    What, Republicans only want to work half days now?

    I think this GOP tactic will fail spectacularly.

    Kristen: You do not understand the term “begs the question.”

  • Kristen

    “Obstructionism”? This post exemplifies why it is important for group leaders to choose their words wisely to avoid sounding petulant, “biased,” and a little immature, frankly; not characteristics that encourage inclusiveness and broad “across-the-political spectrum” support.

    First off, is this a post about Ellen Miller’s testimony or about your peevishness that Republican are trying to “obstruct” the health care bill? (BTW, that begs the question on whether you felt the same way when Democrats “obstructed” Bush and Republicans from achieving their agenda? Isn’t that what the opposition does by its very design and nature? Duh.)

    Obviously, I’m sure it was disappointing when Ms. Miller did not get to speak as planned in Congress but Sunlight has to decide whether they are trying to gain support from ALL sides of the political spectrum, and then actually reflect that in their leadership communications.