Thursday, August 24, 2006

Budget Secrets & Senate Corruption

"In an ironic twist, legislation that would open up the murky world of government contracting to public scrutiny has been derailed by a secret parliamentary maneuver.

An unidentified senator placed a 'secret hold' on legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., that would create a searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance, worth $2.5 trillion last year. The database would bring transparency to federal spending and be as simple to use as conducting a Google search.

The measure had been unanimously passed in a voice vote last month by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It was on the fast track for floor action before Congress recessed Aug. 4 when someone put a hold on the measure.

Now the bill is in political limbo. Under Senate rules, unless the senator who placed the hold decides to lift it, the bill will not be brought up for a vote.

'It really is outrageous to do this in the dead of night as Congress is recessing,' said Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, a budget watchdog group based in Washington. 'The public has a right to know how the government spends money.'"
Be sure to check out Porkbusters where you can find photos of all the Senators who have been "cleared" of placing the hold and of all those Senators who are still suspects.

One of my Senators has cleared himself, but the other is still a suspect.

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