Monday, November 22, 2010

Legislative Integrity – Avoiding Another Omnibus

The phone calls have stopped, the road side signs are being taken down and the negative campaign ads that clogged the television and newspapers have stopped. Finally election season 2010 is over. However don’t let your guard down just yet. With the recent election we are left with a Lame Duck congress. This leaves our rejected representatives held accountable to no one yet still left with the privilege of casting votes that directly impact our lives.

The biggest threat to public lands over the next two months is the looming possibility of yet another unjust omnibus bill being introduced at the midnight hour. This covert and underhanded tactic denies the process of government its constitutional responsibility to adequately consider all legislation introduced. This circumvents the system, set forth by the founding fathers, to take its proper course which governs our nation.

Essentially what an omnibus bill does it take several, if not hundreds, of pieces of individual legislation and roll them all up into one bill. This makes it so our representatives cast an all or nothing vote for a large and diverse group of legislation. At face value this may seem like and efficient way to get things done, however in reality what it does is deny each individual piece of legislation the proper consideration that it deserves. The previous bill in 2009 included about 160 individual pieces of legislation affected nine western states, and eliminating over 2 million acres of public lands for motorized recreation. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

I will admit that there are some good things that get done with this massive bill, that’s the key to getting it passed. You have a few shining stars that cast a positive light on this bill while in the shadows the favors to special interest are slipped in with the hopes they get lost in the confusion. Gold Butte is a likely candidate for one of those favors to special interest that would get slipped into this mammoth bill. Gold Butte and hundreds of other similar places like it, that deserve individual consideration, will be sacrificed at the hands of another omnibus bill.

The fact that we have situations like the Lame Duck session and allow loopholes like the omnibus bill use to really bother me. I use to question if the system, set forth by the founding fathers, was broke. As I sat down and tried to come up with a better solution to the current system a simple fact hit me like a ton of bricks, it’s not the system that is broke it’s the people we allow to manipulate it. The biggest threat to responsible government is those who are seeking to abuse it.

We can try and create a perfect system or craft the slickest piece of legislation however there will always be people who find loopholes. You cannot legislate integrity. Those principles have to be brought to Washington by those who we elect to public office and we must demand that they uphold those values. Don’t blame the system, blame those who abuse the system.

With the difficulties that our nation faces spending time and resources trying to pass an unscrupulous omnibus bill to further a misguided agenda pushed by special interest is not the best allocation of our representative’s time. Please take the time this week to contact your representatives and tell them that you do not support another omnibus lands bill

Congresswoman Titus