Today’s Congressional generation could learn much from the late Idaho Republican Senator James A. McClure. For 18 years, he read every word of every bill before voting on it. Even taking an Evelyn Wood speed reading class would not have provided sufficient time for any Congress member to absorb the 2,746 pages contained in the $1.1 trillion plus legislation for funding the proposed Senate Infrastructure relief package. Only lobbyists and key Congressional staff members (employed by the House and Senate leadership teams) who actually wrote the fine print on behalf of their bosses have any idea of the details buried in the actual contents.
There should be adequate time for members of Congress, ordinary citizens, the media and independent good government watch dog groups the opportunity to understand all of the contents contained in this legislation. Everyone would also have the option under an open process to comment and discuss the benefits or consequences before others vote up or down for adoption.
Congress should have held public hearings in the light of day instead of meeting in the back rooms of House Majority Speaker Pelosi, House Minority Leader McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senate Minority Leader McConnell offices.
The result will end up increasing our national debt by hundreds of billions more, as many of the anticipated spending offsets and future revenue sources to pay for this bill may never come to fruition. So much for open transparency in government.
(Larry Penner previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office.)