Cantor Outshines Obama on Transparency

President-elect Barack Obama has talked the talk about government transparency. But will he walk the walk? House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) stole the spotlight on the issue yesterday when congressional leaders sat down with Obama to discuss his economic stimulus package.

According to the New York Times, Cantor secured one of Obama's first specific policy commitments when the president-elect agreed to put "the entire contents of the legislation online in a user-friendly way to see how the money is being spent."

This was a brilliant suggestion from Cantor and a savvy political move. Conservatives must hold Obama and his administration accountable for his transparency promises. While I'm skeptical of Obama's sincerity (judging from his health care forums), the only way to keep him honest is to play offense.

Details of how Cantor's idea is accomplished will need to be figured out, but it's based on the concept that a full online ledger of the stimulus spending should be publicly available in a user-friendly format. The information should be updated in real-time, meaning that as the stimulus spending changes, the information online should reflect it immediately. Taxpayers should be able to sort by congressional district to find out how the money is being spent.

My only gripe with the idea is that it assumes a spending-focused stimulus is inevitable. Regardless, the onus will be on Obama and congressional Democrats to live up to their promise for complete transparency.

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i think he already said that

I think Obama said during the campaign that every bill he signed would be available online for people to see. either way, good for Cantor...I hope the younger members in DC work together to at least improve communication with the American people.

I would love a website that puts a bill online, two short descriptions of the bill (one by a sponsor and one by someone who opposed the bill) and simple list of who voted yes and who voted no. i know it can be found online but having a simplified version be easier. I would also love a "ranking" feature...where we can see who misses the most votes, who only votes party line, etc. I feel we are headed in that direction and if the younger people in Congress work with Obama we can have a goverment that is on its way to the 21st century.

it already exists

Misleading. It was Obama who championed transparency.

 The idea of transparency in making public policy was one of Obama's most frequent promises during the campaign. He mentioned this most often in reference to health care reform by suggesting that all interested parties be present at discussions and that these discussions be televised on C-Span,

Obama has also made good on his pledges of transparency by revealing donors on his website.  He has already done this several times, the most recent being those who helped finance his inauguration.

This was Cantor's idea

Obama said nothing about making stimulus spending available online. It was Cantor who proposed the idea at yesterday's meeting, and Obama who agreed that it should be done. Yes, the president-elect has been an advocate for transparency, but the credit goes to Cantor for this particular idea.

I'm happy to give Cantor

I'm happy to give Cantor credit and I'm happy PE Obama agreed to it, fulfilling his campaign promise.  I have to say it's refresing to hear about a win-win.  For the sake of the American people, I hope there are more ahead. 

Double speak

If you acknowledge that BOTH deserve credit, then why do you use a title based on a comparison in which Obama comes off looking bad? This is not a small matter because it tends to undermine your credibility and call attention to a personal bias.

I didn't intend to imply he

I didn't intend to imply he should come off looking bad.  I was just responding to the previous post and acknowledging that we have an early example of how it's possible for the GOP to function effecitvely in the minority and rebuild credibility by holding Obama to campaign promises, for the good of eveyrone.  And that I truly hope that continues.  I'd rather see the GOP fill the role that Cantor did than only look for ways to undermine our common interests by obstructng, in an effort to score cheap political points.