Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Ask for Unanimous Consent

Unofficial seal of the United States CongressImage via Wikipedia Allow me to propose a rule change for all of Congress. I know, there are several that need to be modified, but let's start with this one. Have you ever been watching C-Span and heard this, "Mr. (or Madame) Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks."? This request is always followed by, "without exception, so ordered."

Ever wonder why?

Politics, my friend!

In the environment of today's Congressional Rules, actually codified by the Committee on Rules, members are instructed that this phrase is to be the first one they utter after being recognized by the chair.

But again, I ask why?

Bait and switch my friend, pure and simple. In today's technological environment, we have the ability to watch the proceedings of our Senators and Representatives via C-Span. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook provide us with contemporaneous updates on the activities of our legislators - what they say on the floor of their respective houses. Unlike any other time in history, we have the ability to stay abreast of the actions of both houses.

By implementing this rule to allow for revision and extension of their remarks, the people we elected can say one thing on the floor, and then have the ability to go back and totally change, remove, embellish, or otherwise edit their floor remarks. Don't that give you a warm and fuzzy?

If we were to eliminate this ability, the guys and gals we send to Washington would have to say what they mean and mean what they say - as they could no longer hide behind revisions.

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