Wednesday, October 22, 2003; Page A28
The complete article is currently (3/24/04) available
on the Washington Post website at-- http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A61891-2003Oct21?language=printer [found through a Google search by article title]
LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON, the House was poised to vote on an energy bill purported
to be 1,700 pages long. No Democrats, and few Republicans, had read the bill. A dispute among House
and Senate negotiators on a tax issue delayed the vote, but it is expected in a few days. Before then it might be worth thinking
about how this legislation came into existence -- and what that story says about the deeper problems of the legislative process
The House and Senate each passed versions of this bill. But the final version has
been written by a House-Senate conference committee that formally excluded Democrats. Although many of the issues addressed
in the bill have been discussed in the hundreds of hours Congress has spent debating energy in the past two years (or even,
in the case of the electricity provisions, the past decade), some of the final language will never have appeared anywhere
in public. ....
Yet whatever the final contents of this mystery bill, it cannot, once the conference
has signed off on it, be amended. ...
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