Received by email – Irascible Correspondent
Editor’s Note: The term Blob is borrowed from the esteemed James Howard Kunstler.
Earlier today, a reporter standing outside the Senate chamber told me that, after four months of secrecy, The Firm™️ plans to release the text of the $106 billion supplemental aid / border-security package—possibly as soon as tomorrow.
Wasting no time, she then asked, “if you get the bill by tomorrow, will you be ready to vote on it by Tuesday?”
The words “hell no” escaped my mouth before I could stop them. Those are strong words where I come from. (Sorry, Mom).
The reporter immediately understood that my frustration was not directed at her.
Rather, it was directed at the Law Firm of Schumer & McConnell (“The Firm™️”), which is perpetually trying to normalize a corrupt approach to legislating—in which The Firm™️
(1) spends months drafting legislation in complete secrecy,
(2) aggressively markets that legislation based not on its details and practical implications (good and bad), but only on its broadest, least-controversial objectives,
(3) lets members see bill text for the first time only a few days (sometimes a few hours) before an arbitrary deadline imposed by The Firm™️ itself, always with a contrived sense of urgency, and then
(4) forces a vote on the legislation on or before that deadline, denying senators any real opportunity to read, digest, and debate the measure on its merits, much less introduce, consider, and vote on amendments to fix any perceived problems with the bill or otherwise improve it.
Whenever The Firm™️ engages in this practice, it largely excludes nearly every senator from the constitutionally prescribed process in which all senators are supposed to participate.
By so doing, The Firm™️ effectively disenfranchises hundreds of millions of Americans—at least for purposes relevant to the legislation at hand—and that’s tragic.
It’s also unAmerican, uncivil, uncollegial, and really uncool.
So why does The Firm™️ do it?
Every time The Firm™️ utilizes this approach and the bill passes—and it nearly always does—The Firm™️ becomes more powerful.
The high success rate is largely attributable to the fact that The Firm™️ has become very adept at (a) enlisting the help of the (freakishly cooperative) news media, (b) exerting peer pressure in a way that makes what you experienced in middle school look mild by comparison, and (c) rewarding those who consistently vote with The Firm™️ with various privileges that The Firm™️ is uniquely capable of offering (committee assignments, help with campaign fundraising, and a whole host of other widely coveted things that The Firm™️ is free to distribute in any manner it pleases).
It’s through this process that The Firm™️ passes most major spending legislation.
It’s through this process that The Firm™️ likely intends to pass the still-secret, $106 billion supplemental aid / border-security package, which The Firm™️ has spent four months negotiating, with the luxury of obsessing over every sentence, word, period, and comma.
I still don’t know exactly what’s in this bill, although I have serious concerns with it based on the few details The Firm™️ has been willing to share.
But under no circumstances should this bill — which would fund military operations in three distant parts of the world and make massive, permanent changes to immigration law — be passed next week.
Nor should it be passed until we have had adequate time to read the bill, discuss it with constituents, debate it, offer amendments, and vote on those amendments.
There’s no universe in which those things will happen by next week.
Depending on how long it is and the complexity of its provisions, the minimum period of time we should devote to this bill after it’s released should be measured in weeks or months, not days or hours.
Please share this if you agree.