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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More Progress on Capitol Hill Transparency Thanks to Rep. Steve King

Mary Katharine Ham spent much of yesterday and today in Ballamer at the Heritage-hosted Republican Study Committee Congressional Retreat. One of the most interesting conversations young Miss Ham found herself in was today with Rep. Steve King, R-IA, who is working hard on a transparency issue that is close to my heart.

Ham - who posts at Hugh Hewitt's daily essential reading site - says people outside of Washington, D.C. are often amazed when told Members of Congress often vote on proposed bills they haven't read and neither has anybody else outside of a little
circle of insiders:

"But folks like King would like to change that by making legislation available online before floor votes. He comes up against resistance from folks bogged down in the parliamentary procedure-- people who say it's just too much to try to do. King, rightly, says that in this day and age, with the technology we have, there's no excuse for bills not going online before votes, in searchable format.

"People who are against this kind of thing, as far as I can tell, are long-time Hill people who just think these bills are too massive and the process too arduous to be worth pleasing the relatively small number of people who would be interested in reading them.

"Either that, or they have things to hide in legislation and would like to continue hiding them. The first excuse speaks to the already out-of-hand size of government, and the second to an element of dishonesty in government. Both problems are exacerbated by refusing to make the process more visible."

Bingo! We will be hearing more from Young Miss Ham on these transparency issues because she clearly understands why they deserve to be Priority One. Go here to read her full report on the Ballamer doings.