September 24, 2010

Transparency and the "Pledge to America"

Yesterday, House Republicans released their "Pledge to America," a 48 page document that details their legislative priorities if they win back the House in November.

I urge you to read the whole thing, but I wanted to take a moment and review the provisions dedicated to transparency and House reforms.

The transparency provisions can be boiled down to four central ideas:
  • All bills must be published online for three days prior to coming up for a vote
  • All bills must cite their Constitutional authority
  • Any lawmaker is allowed to offer an amendment that reduces government spending
  • Ending the practice of coupling bills to "must-pass" legislation and forcing legislation to deal with one issue at a time

Of all these ideas, the first one is probably the strongest politically and actually has quite a few supporters already. The "Read the Bill" movement is now being embraced openly.

I'm also surprised there's no mention of reforming the earmark process. Conservatives have long argued that earmarks are a "gateway drug" to more government spending, but this "pledge" doesn't mention the issue.