February 13, 2009
After campaigning on a pledge to increase government transparency and to stop the practice of closed-door meetings and Majority-party legislation rewrites, President Obama and his liberal congressional Leadership have violated that promise only three short weeks after the Inauguration.
After the Senate passed its version of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) this week, congressional Republicans caught the Democrats in a midnight "stimulus" backroom, closed-door negotiation which sought to prevent Republican conferees from attending the House-Senate meetings to resolve a final version of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid "stimulus" conference report.
Covert activities such as this lie in direct conflict with President Obama's pre- and post-election promise to "end the practice of writing legislation behind closed doors." The "Ethics" page of the Obama-Biden Transition Team website, Change.gov, elaborates even further:
"As president, Barack Obama will restore the American people's trust in their government by making government more open and transparent. Obama will work to reform congressional rules to require all legislative sessions, including committee mark-ups and conference committees, to be conducted in public. By making these practices public, the American people will be able to hold their leaders accountable for wasteful spending and lawmakers won't be able to slip favors for lobbyists into bills at the last minute."
Obama even came up with a clever name for his promise not to rush any bill through Congress before the public has had the opportunity to review it; he called it "sunlight before signing."
Unfortunately, that light is beginning to shine on the liberals' broken promises. On the evening of February 10th, 2009, the House unanimously passed legislation which would require a 48-hour period wherein the legislation would be posted on the internet before any votes. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) kept the text of the bill concealed, even to lawmakers, until less than 24 hours before the scheduled vote today. The length of the final conference report is now double the size of the Senate-passed bill and amounts to a whopping 1,071 pages! (part 1) (part 2) (pdf files)
Here are a few of Eagle Forum's most serious concerns with the Conference Report:
- Strips E-Verify from the "stimulus" and does not provide for its reauthorization beyond March 6, 2009. This means that recipients of stimulus funds will not be required to use this computer-based program to verify that the workers they are hiring are not illegal aliens. So, the jobs created as a result of this bill are up for grabs among illegals. This is of particular concern since many of the provisions included are for construction and infrastructure projects. Today, one out of every seven construction workers is an illegal alien.
- Provides $1 Billion for ACORN-Eligible Block Grants.
- Employs "comparative effectiveness" research that will have the power to greatly influence and potentially decide coverage decisions about what medical treatments may be offered to patients based on cost. Details here.
- The total cost of the "stimulus," with interest included, over the next 10 years will be in the neighborhood of $1.1 trillion. To put this number in perspective, if you were to begin counting from 1 to 1 trillion right now, it would take you 30,000 years.
Please note that the text of this bill is final and that no further changes or amendments can be made. The House agreed to the conference report at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, but the Senate plans to vote either sometime later this evening or sometime Saturday, February 14th.
As you continue with your calls to your Representative and Senators, it is also important that as many people know about how this bill has been jammed through Congress without allowing for adequate transparency.
Please send and forward this alert to as many people as you possibly can!
Resources and further reading:
Watch House Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) show the American people the final bill and how the liberal Leadership scribbled out language and rewrote it with a pen!
Watch GOP Leader John Boehner throw down the 1,071-page bill in disgust because not one Member of Congress has read it.