14 February 2009

Draining the Swamp

On October 6, 2006, the Washington Post reported on the plans the soon to be Speaker of the House had:

Franklin Roosevelt had his first hundred days. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is thinking 100 hours, time enough, she says, to begin to "drain the swamp" after more than a decade of Republican rule.

She later defined the quoted term to Brian Williams of NBC News:
"Drain the swamp" means to turn this Congress into the most honest and open Congress in history. That's my pledge — that is what I intend to do.

Washington Post reported on the steps she planned in her first 100 hours:

As in the first 100 hours the House meets after Democrats _ in her fondest wish _ win control in the Nov. 7 midterm elections and Pelosi takes the gavel as the first Madam Speaker in history.

Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."

So how come the US News reported Thursday:
We're receiving E-mails from Capitol Hill staffers expressing frustration that they can't get a copy of the stimulus bill agreed to last night at a price of $789 billion. What's more, staffers are complaining about who does have a copy: K Street lobbyists. E-mails one key Democratic staffer: "K Street has the bill, or chunks of it, already, and the congressional offices don't. So, the Hill is getting calls from the press (because it's leaking out) asking us to confirm or talk about what we know—but we can't do that because we haven't seen the bill. Anyway, peeps up here are sort of a combo of confused and like, 'Is this really happening?'"
Maybe the Speaker believes that throwing copies of an 1100 page bill into the swamp is tantamount to draining it.

If so, she is wrong.

But such counter-intuitive thinking would explain how she was on board with an unfunded 80% increase in discretionary domestic spending (called a "Stimulus Bill") after she told the WaPo in 2006 that after day 2, her priority was

All the days after that: "Pay as you go," meaning no increasing the deficit, whether the issue is middle class tax relief, health care or some other priority.

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