I've written before about the problem of legislative collusion - the horse-trading process by which legislators bribe each other at our expense, creating de facto campaign donations for incumbents and sacrificing quality, oversight and accountability for political expedience. Few things would do more for rational, good governance than unbundling legislation.
Today, we have a perfect illustration of the problem. Congress is considering the 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act. This is supposed to be a bill that provides funding "for Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Pandemic Flu" (PDF). However, politicians like to use consensus bills as a trojan horse to slip in more controversial items. So, this bill now contains billions for the IMF (globalizing the bailouts!), multi-billion dollar earmarks from Rep. Murtha (which the military says are "not needed") and other unrelated, indulgent spending.
Few of those things would get a majority vote by themselves. But throw them all into the pot, and....
Well, actually, it's still uncertain whether it will pass. Blue Dog Democrats realize that voting for this will be a big problem for them, come time for reelection. (Good luck running against the "He spent your money to bail out European banks" ads)
So, according to sources on the Hill, the White House has sent Rahm Emanuel to "stuff everyone with so much pork that they have to vote for the supplemental." And the Texas delegation is "refusing to vote for the supplemental unless Obama forces Rick Perry to take the stimulus money".
A few phone calls never hurt. Via Red State, here is a list of Congressmen who should learn how their districts feel about this bill.
|Name||District||Phone 1||Phone 2||Phone 3|
|Frank Kratovil||MD-01||443-262 -9136||410-334-3072||410-420-8822|