Great post today by Bob Edgar in the Huffington Post about a “Gang of Eight” Republican Senators who have issued their own set of rules for passing legislation in the Senate. They’ve developed a series of six litmus tests that must be met or they’ll filibuster the bill and effectively kill it.
The “Gang of Eight” are Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John McCain of Arizona, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, John Ensign of Nevada, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Here are a few of their demands.
• Any proposal to increase spending or create a new government agency must include corresponding spending cuts somewhere else in the federal establishment.
This demand does not make sense because it does not accommodate any increases in income that the Federal government might take in, or necessary growth of government spending due to changing circumstances such as an increase in populations, disasters, wars, etc. I mean really, if (when actually) Canada attacks us are we going to cut social security to pay for moose camo to defend our northern border, come on!
• Any bill creating a new government agency must have a “sunset” date when the agency will die unless Congress acts to extend it.
I kind of like this one. I’d like a sunset date on the Senate. We pay a hell of a lot for them too, they seem to forget that.
• The text of every bill and a formal estimate of its cost must be available to the public for three full days before the legislation is passed.
Good, done, do it, should be 14 days before, but if three are all you can do because you need time to negotiate pork attachments to it, then fine. I like bacon.
• Any bill creating a new program that “replicates” an existing government function must consolidate the new and existing functions or eliminate the existing programs.
This is such a nuclear-sized DUH, I can’t believe that the “Gang of Eight” are floating it as high ground. Is – for example – John McCain who was elected to the House of Representatives all the way back in 1982 saying that he has been passing legislation to duplicate existing services for 29 years and NOW, just NOW, he has decided that it’s a bad idea so it must be memorialized in a letter to the general Senate? Really Mr. McCain, just NOW?
• All bills must have a “clear and obvious” connection to the powers delegated to Congress by the Constitution.
Wow, now there’s a good way to bog down the Federal government permenantly. Can you imagine the semantic gymnastics this little sentence will spark!? Just cut everything but the military and give me my money back.
To quote Paul Newman’s son in “The Road to Perdition” (2002), “It’s all so F–ing hysterical.”