How Laws Get Passed

I was pretty non-political until 9/11, at which time I actually started watching the news. So it’s been a learning experience for me for the last decade. But the current health care debate has highlighted a few things about the process that I hadn’t really spent much time thinking about before.

Here we have a situation (health care) in which the polls show that around 67% of the public oppose the bill currently before the congress. By that I mean that the 67% don’t want this bill in any form to pass.

However, the political party in control at present has decided that they want it to pass, come hell or high water – regardless of what most Americans want. This is not about health care, at all – it’s a power grab for control of around 1/5 of the economy.

But this post isn’t about that. This post is about the mechanism of how senators and congressmen decide how to vote.

For instance, Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson, in effect, sold their votes for other benefits to their states (at the cost of all the other states). The other 58 votes the Democrats have lined up have selected the party line for various reasons; I feel sure that similar bargaining went on with quite a few of them, although perhaps to lesser extent.

What ever happened to the idea of our Representatives and Senators voting for a bill, based on the merits of the bill?

So if the Democrats pass this bill, they will clearly do it over the objections of the people. And, most of them, without knowing exactly what’s in it.

The system seems to be broken. This is supposed to be a representative government, but it is not.


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