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Monday, September 26, 2005

Giving Credit Where It's Due on the Porkbusters Blogswarm: Heritage's Feulner Proposed in December 2004 Using Internet to Fight Pork

Excellent summary of the impact of the Porkbusters concept on both sides of the Blogosphere by "Beltway Blogroll's" Danny Glover. I'm flattered that somebody notes the link between my February and August posts on blogging government and the current Porkbusters blogswarm, but it was Ed Feulner who first suggested posting spending bills on the Internet before Congress votes on them.

Feulner, who is President of The Heritage Foundation, suggested in a Dec. 9, 2004, op-ed entitled "Open and Accountable" that when the new Congress convened in January leaders of the House and Senate starting posting appropriations bill texts on the Internet before they are considered on the legislative floor:

"On Capitol Hill next month, it'll be out with the old and in with the new, as the 109th Congress takes the oath of office.Of course, neither house will look much different. More than 95 percent of incumbents who ran this year were re-elected.

"Still, the beginning of a session is a time for changes. Here's one that would make a genuine difference: Make the legislative process more open. For example, when lawmakers write their rules for this session, they ought to require that every spending measure and conference report be posted on the Internet for at least one day before members can vote on it.

"And that should be a bare minimum -- after all, it would still be difficult to read an entire appropriations bill in one night. Posting the text wouldn’t be difficult. Every measure has to be typed up before it can be presented for consideration. That typed document can easily be posted as a file attachment on the Web. But this small change would pay big dividends.

"If you doubt that, just ask Dan Rather."

My subsequent posts on making government more open via the Blogosphere were simply taking Feulner's suggestion, as well as those of others like Hugh Hewitt and lessons I've learned during my three decades in Washington, D.C. and following the logical possibilities.

Knowing his admiration of President Reagan's maxim about getting a lot accomplished when you don't care who gets credit, I suspect Feulner will seek to direct attention to others. But for the record, he "got there firstest with the mostest," as a certain Civil War general once said.