Carper: We Trust Our Staff So You Can Trust Us

by on October 3, 2009 · 8 comments

A deep fissure between federal lawmaking practices and the Internet-fueled expectations of the people is just starting to open.

Here’s a fascinating interview with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), in which he justifies not reading the legislation that he votes on.

He’s right that the bills Congress passes are almost incomprehensible, but he draws the wrong conclusion from it. It’s not OK to pass bills that you can’t read and literally don’t understand.

Congress and the bureaucracy will come to learn a lesson that other parts of our society have learned: The Internet changes things.

Because it is now possible to see legislation before Congress passes it, Americans now expect to see legislation before it passes. And they will come to expect that their representative understand it—in detail.

A machine has grown up in Washington over the past two hundred years where representatives rely on colleagues who rely on staff to write bills. This has not produced a desirable body of federal law, and it is not a process that the public will accept for much longer.

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  • mwendy

    Greta Van Sustern said something similar the other night to Senator Jim DeMint – Hey, you guys don't let us see these massive bills, you yourself may not even comprehend what's in them, and then there're all these ambiguities within the bills that you let the courts work out instead of you getting the details right in the first place. What gives?

    This shows you just how “un-limited” government has become. This really isn't “representation.”

  • dm

    I'm a little surprised you guys, with your constant fretting about the FCC, haven't had any screaming headlines about the FTC's threat of fines for bloggers that conceal payments for reviews. It seems like the sort of thing you'd be interested in.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/05/ftc-bl

  • dm

    I'm a little surprised you guys, with your constant fretting about the FCC, haven't had any screaming headlines about the FTC's threat of fines for bloggers that conceal payments for reviews. It seems like the sort of thing you'd be interested in.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/05/ftc-bl

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