In the Someone Left The Irony On Department, Nancy Pelosi has urged her colleagues in the House to get busy with transparent-government initiatives this week. Reid Wilson notes the jarring dissonance between holding up “the importance of open government” while trying to avoid taking a vote on ObamaCare using the deem-and-pass tactic, or what should be known as Demon Pass:
Today, the House takes up a measure requiring federal agencies to use simple language in writing official documents; a proposal to ensure e-mails are preserved by federal archivists; and a bill that would require members to use the money left in their annual office accounts to pay down the debt.
The good-government proposals come as GOPers cry foul over Pelosi’s suggestion the majority could use so-called “deem and pass” measures to force the Senate health care bill through the House without an actual vote.
“During Sunshine Week, which focuses on the importance of open government and freedom of information, Congress is taking action to make the government more accountable, transparent and responsive to the American people,” reads a fact sheet distributed to House Dems’ offices, and which was provided to Hotline OnCall by an incredulous Dem aide.
Not to take anything away from these proposals, which do little but nibble around the edges, but wouldn’t having members commit to a vote on controversial legislation create more sunshine than paying down debt from office accounts? The very nature of open government in a representative government requires that elected officials have accountability for the laws they pass. The social contract that binds constituents to these laws depends on that accountability. If we cannot hold our representatives individually and collectively responsible for passage of laws, then we have ceased being a free people and have entered into an autocratic form of bondage.
As far as those office accounts go, the leftover funds won’t pay a second’s interest on the national debt, not unless we’re budgeting a couple of billion dollars per office … which, given Congress’ spending proclivities, may come soon. If Pelosi wants to start working on the national debt, she can start by cutting back spending to 2007 levels, where Democrats took over from Republicans. This suggestion coming from a woman who has increased annual federal spending by over a trillion dollars a year within three years is beyond insulting to the intelligence. It’s self-parody.