As ordinary Americans are struggling to cope with extraordinary requests that they shutter their businesses, cancel social functions, stay home from church and practice social distancing while scouring to find needed grocery items and hygiene products, some politicians in Washington, D.C. think it is time to accelerate their power grab.
Maybe it is time to send Congress home to self-quarantine.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked for unanimous consent last week to pass 87 pages of “technical corrections” to the 110- page “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” H.R. 6201. Some of those changes still were being written, even as lawmakers were pressured to adopt them without the ability to read them first. And it turns out many of the “corrections” were substantive and not just “technical.”
We applaud the courage of Rep. Louie Gohmert of East Texas for objecting.
“I cannot in good conscience give my consent to something that has not been finished or made available to Members of Congress before it is up for a vote,” Gohmert said. “This coronavirus is doing enough damage to people without Congress compounding the problem to rush through a bill and another corrected bill just to say we did something.”
Turns out there was a great deal more money in the proposed bill that would go to things that had nothing to do with the coronavirus – including a provision to allow taxpayer-funded abortions. That is a stunning revelation: Democratic leadership was using an emergency bill designed to help families protect lives and cope with the economic ramifications of COVID-19 to channel more funding toward killing babies.
Another Texas Congressman, Rep. Michael Burgess of Lewisville, said there remain lingering concerns about what else was hurried along in the rush to pass the bill.
“Congress does its best work when we work in the daylight – when we hold hearings, get subject matter experts and [public testimony],” Burgess said last week. “Then we make our decisions based upon facts.” This coronavirus/economic stimulus bill, he said, was anything but that.
We agree: Congress – and government at all levels – does its best work when it is exposed to the light of public transparency.
We expect our lawmakers in Washington, D.C., as well as our lawmakers in Austin and our decision-makers here in Lampasas County, to take informed, responsible votes that include public testimony and a thorough reading of the measures before them. The difficulties of dealing with COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse to rush through measures in closed meetings that have wide-ranging effects on taxpayers’ lives and squander those precious taxpayer dollars.
Let’s see whether our officials are serious about Families First and continue to hold them accountable for their actions.