Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shameful Behavior: U.S. Senate Continues Spending Money in Secret

Shameful Behavior: U.S. Senate Continues Spending Money in Secret; By Warner Todd Huston; Publius Forum

Apparently for at least ten years our U.S. Senators have been creating operating rules that allow them to get out of doing one of their most important jobs: actually voting on legislation. As it happens ninety three percent of the approved measures that have come out of the Senate never got a roll call vote.

This means that the massive spending that the Senate has approved for the last ten years has simply sailed through the so-called most deliberative body in the world without all that annoying deliberating stuff being forced on our busy, busy Senators.

In the Washington Examiner Tina Korbe highlights the Senate’s use of the “unanimous consent” rule that allows bills to flow quickly through the Senate by dispensing with Senators having to actually sit down and hit the “yea” or “nay” button before a bill is passed on to the reconciliation phase of the lawmaking process.

Unanimous consent is a procedural device used to speed up the legislative process — as long as no senator objects. In practice, the Senate arrives at unanimous consent not by debate or by thoughtful consideration of bills, but by the Senate “hotline,” an informal telephoned request asking senators to allow measures to be approved by the Senate without debate or amendment.
Korbe goes on to say that a bill will pass automatically unless any senator calls the majority leader on the phone and asks for a “hold” to be placed on the bill. And if a senator isn’t in his office? Well, if he misses the “unanimous consent” why then his absence is taken as consent to pass the bill.

Read the rest here.

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