Senators Vote Yes On Identity Theft!

from the debate?--this-is-the-Senate,-we-don't-do-debates... dept

As expected, all 100 Senators passed the Iraq appropriations bill today, because no Senator wants to face an opponent next election running commercials about how he or she “voted against supporting our troops in Iraq.” Of course, that meant all sorts of stuff got included in the bill as well, including the Real ID act, on which there was absolutely no debate, and which is likely to make identity theft easier. Bruce Schneier makes the convincing argument about just how bad this really is for all of us. And people wonder why everyone is so cynical about the world of politics.

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Comments on “Senators Vote Yes On Identity Theft!”

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jojo says:

Re: Re: Attaching supplements sucks!

Legislators, at both state and federal levels often combine spending items (called adding “supplements”) into a single major bill and these items rarely have much in common.

This practice obfuscates the central focus of the issue in question and makes it difficult for voters to pin down the votes a legislator makes. Were they for this, for that or against this or that? This practice provides politicians with a lot of leeway to claim that while they were against parts of the bill or that they had to vote yes to get the other, most important parts into law bu they really wanted to vote no. Kerry pulled this BS in the last election and paid dearly for it as he was successfully branded a “flip-flopper” by the Republicans for, among many examples, his vote on the initial Iraq war bill.

But clearly, politicians like this method of doing business because it helps protect them from having to take a direct stand on the record. It also allows a lot of pork to get attached to bills and into the law.

What is the history of this practice? Has it been with us since the beginning? Is it worse or better now?

I’ve never seen any coverage of this issue anywhere and I think it’s a subject that needs examination and discussion. Is there any way to stop this practice? Is this even constitutional?

I’d like to see major bills (at least) be single issue only where a legislator votes yes, no or abstains on one issue. Not the mish-mash like the example below. Not only would this make it easier for the voters, I believe it might also make the process of passing laws more efficient. Legislators might get more done and might be able to focus on the central issue more if there weren’t a lot of side issues to deal with.

No, politicians will not be happy with such a change and would fight any such proposal tooth and nail, as it would make it more difficult to include (hide?) rewards their special interest friends and fat-cat supporters. But it is something that truly needs to be done, sooner rather than later. Otherwise we will continue to get travesties like this (items with “?” next to them have, IMO, nothing at all to do with the central focus of this bill:

Highlights of the bill

The $82 billion supplemental war appropriations bill includes:

— $75.9 billion for the military. The bill directs $37.1 billion for operations and maintenance, $17.4 billion for personnel and $17.3 billion for new weapons.

— $592 million for a new Baghdad embassy.

— $907 million for tsunami relief. ?????????

— $680 million for peacekeeping.

— $1.7 billion for Afghan reconstruction.

— $200 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority.

— $635 million for increased border security, which includes money to hire 500 new border patrol agents.

— $17.2 million to improve U.S. coastal tsunami warning systems. ?????????????

— The bill also raises the military death benefit for the families of those killed in combat to $100,000 from $12,000 and the subsidized life insurance benefit for families to $400,000 from $250,000..

Other provisions

The bill also:

— Adds uniform requirements for driver’s licenses.

— Toughens asylum laws.

— Grants the homeland security secretary authority to complete a fence on the California-Mexico border and build other border barriers.

— Bars the United States from assisting organizations that have not adopted international standards and penalties to prevent the sexual exploitation and abuses of international disaster victims. ???????????

— Requires federal agencies to include disclaimers on video news releases to clarify that they were prepared at taxpayer expense. ???????????????

— Includes a provision intended to protect the C-130J cargo plane from being scaled back by the Pentagon and language that would bar the Pentagon from reducing its fleet of 12 aircraft carriers until it does a review of long- term military needs.

— Provides for dozens of spending items not related to the war effort, such as $500,000 for a desalination plant at the University of Nevada at Reno, $24 million for maintenance of forest roads in California and $2 million for the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences in Michigan. ?????????????????????

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