Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Third House of Congress

A conference committee is often called "the third house of Congress"

Whether we get a clean stimulus package or a Christmas tree festooned with ornaments of pork depends on a committee of notables.

And some near-notables. And a couple of non-notables. And at least one we-wish-he'd-go-away-so he'd-stop-being notable. Maybe two.

They'll hammer out differences between the House and Senate bills. They're also free to delete stuff both houses of Congress approved and insert stuff neither house approved. Or even considered.

Some stuff that's being stuffed in, like fair treatment for Filipinos who fought on America's side in WWII, isn't going to do much to stimulate the economy. It's mostly about America finally acting like America ought. Then again, a few bucks in the pockets of elderly Filipinos and Filipino-Americans might goose prune juice sales in Hawaii a little. I'm just sayin'.

Other stuff being stuffed in is defensible. The President defended one yesterday.

Why wouldn't you require a move toward alternative fuels in the clauses covering the purchase of government vehicles? The stimulus part is buying the damn cars. If, at the same time, he can move forward on something he and McCain agreed on last fall --- weaning ourselves from dependence on energy bought from folks who don't like us very much --- that's a good thing.

Other stuff being stuffed in is utterly indefensible; the conference committee should wield a scalpel, not a ladle.

Bob Dylan sang to an earlier generation of legislators:
Come Senators, Congressmen please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall
For he who gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it's raging
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times, they are a changing

It might be a good idea to have that song playing while they meet.

Maybe on a loop with the Springsteen/Pete Seeger performance of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" at the Lincoln Memorial on Inauguration Weekend.

All six verses.

3 comments:

Alan M. Feldstein said...

Who doesn't like us very much? Let's talk about the top four oil producers according to the CIA.

Saudia Arabia: This is perhaps the friendliest of the Middle Eastern oil producing states and by far the largest producer in region. They've given over $10 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation. Bandar bin Sultan has had a close relationship with the Bush family for a long time.

Russia: Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, this relationship has been comparatively good. Georgia is a problem, but the Russians aren't violating that nations sovereignty because they hate the U.S. Putting "defensive" missiles into the new NATO nations is causing some friction, however.

United States: Do we not like ourselves? I'm often found admiring myself in the mirror.

Iran: The Iranian people love us. As for the government, stay tuned. Obama is doing some good things on that front.

Regarding the idea of music being played during the stimulus package negotiations to iron out differences between the chambers, with Obama in the White House it's time that we embrace the Rock n Roll Generation. How about some KISS? "It's cold gin time again." Of course, a live performance would be even better.

David in DC said...

Rock On, dude.

We can argue some other time.

I'm too tickled pink to hear from you to argue right now. You're one of a limited number of people from the era of our acquaintance who I fully welcome hearing from.

And you make the cut by a rather wide margin.

I was in Ra-Cha-Cha last weekend for my niece's bat mitzvah. Are you still there?

Al Freakin' Feldstein!

I Heart the Internet!

Hey, City Editor! Look! It's Al Feldstein.

(Note for future post: How I almost lost my virginity to a younger girl at a party at Al Feldstein's house.)

Churlita said...

it will be very interesting to see how all this pans out. I hope the practice works as well as the theory sounds - well, at least a lot of the theory.