Let’s Hear It for Gridlock!

by on October 2, 2006 · 14 comments

Derek notes that Congress has adjourned for the year without passing an NSA spying bill. This is good news. It occurs to me that libertarians have reason to cheer this session of Congress, not because anything particularly good happened, but because many bad ideas were floated, and to my knowledge none of them got to the president’s desk:

  • Back in January, I argued that the best we could hope for on the telecom front was for Congress to leave well enough alone. I got my wish. There were more iterations of the telecom bill than I can recall, but with one exception (franchise reform) all of the ideas were bad. We had game-playing that made the universal service system even more convoluted. We had broadcast flag provisions snuck into the bill under cover of darkness. And of course, we had the big push for network neutrality regulations. Now, those all appear to be dead for the year.

  • We had DOPA, the “MySpace bill,” which Adam ably dissected back in May. According to Wikipedia, it passed the House but does not appear to have been taken up by the Senate. Good riddance.
  • There was the effort to make online gambling–which is already illegal–even more illegal. The bill passed the House but failed to clear the Senate.
  • The Copyright Modernization Act died in committee, with its sponsor vowing to bring it up again next year.

    There are probably others I’m not thinking of. The bottom line, though, is that these were all overwhelmingly bad legislation, and so it’s good to see that none of them passed this Congress. The bad news, unfortunately, is that most of them will probably be back for another round in 2007. Personally, I’m hoping that the Democrats take the House by a razor-thin margin to maximize the opportunity for gridlock and paralysis in the 110th Congress.

    Update: According to Eric, the gambling bill did get passed. And as Jim points out, there were some bad bills that passed on non-technology fronts. Also, Derek says that Congress will be back in session after the election. So I guess it would be premature to pop any champagne bottles.

    • eric

      The internet gambling bill cleared the Senate, if this news report is correct. The President is set to sign it this week.

      http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/10/02/061002132728.nt5b8tr6.html

    • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard

      So did the Military Commissions Act (S. 3930/H.R. 6166), which creates unconstitutional conditions for suspension of habeas corpus. That’s about as bad a bill as I’ve ever seen pass.

      We clearly don’t have quite enough gridlock.

    • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

      Doh! So much for that theory.

    • eric

      The internet gambling bill cleared the Senate, if this news report is correct. The President is set to sign it this week.

      http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/10/02/061002

    • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard

      So did the Military Commissions Act (S. 3930/H.R. 6166), which creates unconstitutional conditions for suspension of habeas corpus. That’s about as bad a bill as I’ve ever seen pass.

      We clearly don’t have quite enough gridlock.

    • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

      Doh! So much for that theory.

    • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cmusings Derek Slater
    • eric

      I’m a conservative more than a libertarian, but let me get on that gridlock bandwagon with y’all. The more monkey wrenches we can throw in the machine, the better.

    • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cmusings Derek Slater

      For the language of the gambling bill:
      http://www.rules.house.gov/109_2nd/text/hr4954c

      Here’s some immediate fall-out:
      http://www.forbes.com/business/2006/10/02/inter

    • eric

      I’m a conservative more than a libertarian, but let me get on that gridlock bandwagon with y’all. The more monkey wrenches we can throw in the machine, the better.

    • http://www.crescatsententia.org PLN

      I have to second Jim. I mean, torture, guys. Not to get all extreme or anything. This reminds me of the old “But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” joke.

    • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

      Peter and Jim, I was specifically focusing on technology-related issues. I’ve done my share of ranting and raving about the torture issue elsewhere.

    • http://www.crescatsententia.org PLN

      I have to second Jim. I mean, torture, guys. Not to get all extreme or anything. This reminds me of the old “But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” joke.

    • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

      Peter and Jim, I was specifically focusing on technology-related issues. I’ve done my share of ranting and raving about the torture issue elsewhere.

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