Back in December I wrote about George Bush sneaking through a “midnight regulation” which would allow the carrying of loaded weapons into national parks. It was one of the regs that Pres. Obama stopped and killed on his first day in office.
Fast forward to today. Congress has just passed the credit card reform bill imposing a lot of badly needed restrictions on credit card companies. Hurray! Except perhaps for bank owners, consumers everywhere are applauding the reining in of the credit card giants.
But guess what also got signed into law as an amendment to the credit card reform bill … yep, you guessed it, a provision allowing the carrying of loaded weapons into national parks! This is how things get done in Washington. A lawmaker is just dying to get his proposal voted into law, but he can’t drum up enough so support for it on its own merits. What to do? Tack it onto to another sure-to-pass albeit totally unrelated bill as an amendment. Voila! A new law!
The gloating lawmaker who authored this particular abomination of an amendment is Sen. Tom Coburn (R), of Oklahoma. Not that he’s any worse than any other lawmaker who slips unrelated amendments into pending legislation or votes to pass bills containing irrelevant provisions.
Washington, that great little sausage factory on the East Coast, is in need of some serious reform of its own. If a measure cannot garner enough support to pass on its own merits, it doesn’t deserve to pass, period. No measure should be allowed to piggyback its way into law on the backside of another totally unrelated bill.