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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Senate Ends Anonymous Holds on Legislation, Nominees; Anti-Earmarks Provision Removed

Another time-honored congressional tradition bit the dust yesterday and it's good riddance to the anonymous "holds" whereby a single senator could keep legislation or nominations he or she opposed bottled in legislative purgatory.

The measure to abolish holds was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-IA, and was approved on an 84-13 vote during consideration of an ethics reform package.

Captain's Quarters' Ed Morrissey explains the significance of the vote:

"More than that, an end to the anonymous hold means that Senators will now be held accountable for their obstructionism. An anonymous act in a public debate suggests either a lack of testicular fortitude for one's position, or some sort of corruption in play. In either case, as both Grassley and Wyden note, one cannot engage in negotiation when the aggrieved party will not identify himself, essentially giving each Senator veto power over any bill that comes to the Senate floor."

That is the good news.

The bad news is that a provision putting limits on earmarks is not part of the ethics reform measure. More on that later today.