Integrity-Absent in Washington


by Richard H. Frank

Transparency, openness, bi-partisanship and a new way of doing business are all too familiar promises included in the rhetoric of political candidates while on the campaign trail. Amnesia seems to set in once they assume the office they have been elected to occupy. This affliction extends from the President through the Senate and throughout the House of Representatives. Perhaps we should develop a vaccine and inoculate all candidates against this malady during their campaign. Unfortunately, party ideology, special interests and corruption seem to infect the legislative process and they revert to business as usual.

The classic example of this is the Health Care Legislation reconciliation process currently being undertaken in Washington. The process to date has been characterized as being non-partisan, fraught with special interests influence, back room deals and manipulation of costs in order to meet hurdles for implementation.

We all witnessed candidate Obama’s promise of open access to the legislative process through coverage on CSPAN and the internet, followed by five days posting of that legislation for public view before any vote is taken by Congress. If we ask the average citizen what they think about the proposed legislation the overwhelming comment is that, “we don’t know enough about the 2500+page bill to comment”. When members of Congress are challenged about the process the response is, “if we allowed the reconciliation to be made public we would never pass anything”. Nancy Pelosi says that no bill has ever had the transparency that health care reform has over the past year. Her comment related to the President’s comments about the legislative process being made public is less than inspiring when she says, “a lot of things are said on the campaign trail”. Comments like these certainly inspire confidence that Congress will represent their constituents.

Harry Reid wears his backroom deals to buy votes for the legislation like a badge of honor. His comments demean those Senators that did not extort favors for their state as not smart enough to capitalize on their position for their constituents. Extortion in the public sector is criminal. According to Reid it is just business in Washington. I think Harry needs a refresher course on the Constitution along with Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson.

President Obama has pledged that he will not sign any legislation that adds one single dime to the deficit. Pelosi and Reid have manipulated the assumptions given to the CBO in order to meet Obama’s pledge. Removal of the 285 billion DOC pay provision and transferring it to the budget where it will add to the deficit coupled with the sweetheart deal on Medicaid for Nebraska are perhaps the most glaring examples of the FIX being in. These maneuvers coupled with the assumed revenues from penalties for the non- insured and 550 Billion in cuts to Medicare that will not occur make the process a sham. Yet Pelosi, Reid and President Obama stand up with a straight face and regurgitate these lies. I guess Integrity doesn’t appear in the Congressional dictionary. So Mr. President, here is the definition of INTERGITY should you need a reminder.

“Adherence to moral and ethical principled; soundness of moral character; honesty.

Americans truly believe that Congress is hiding something and once the truth is known we will revolt against this administration and Congress. With an overall approval rating of 20% Congress is the least trusted legislative body in recent memory.  Health Care Reform is opposed by more than 60% of Americans and passage of the legislation is viewed as “taxing with non-representation”.

I think the question posed to Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950’s is appropriate to be asked today. Senator, have you no shame?

One Response

  1. Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so, Excellent post!

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