AUGUST 29, 2006
The man-hunt on Capitol Hill continues for the “pork bill blocker,” an anonymous senator holding a proposed bill that would create a database detailing large government grants and contracts.
Currently, U.S. government lacks a “system for assimilating, organizing, and releasing information on the hundreds of billions of tax dollars that are spent each year on federal grants and contracts.” On April 6, an Oklahoma senator proposed s.2590, a bill that “would require the administration to create a searchable Web site that would list the name and amount of any federal grant, contract or other award of money amounting to $25,000 or more (The Washington Times).”
Politicians, however, are searching for the senator putting a hold on the bill. According to unofficial Senate parliamentary tradition, a single senator can anonymously delay action. The majority leader can end the hold by “forcing the issue onto the floor, using the same procedure used to end a filibuster, which would require 60 votes.” Rather than the senator revealing his or her identity, however, bloggers, the news media and hill staffers have spent their summers narrowing down the list of potential culprits.
Mismanagement, fraud, and corruption thrive in a closed system where information is unavailable to the public. Only through transparency can we ensure that public officials are held accountable for their actions. The public has a right to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent. The public also has a right to know the identity of the “pork bill blocker.” The senator responsible for the hold-up should come forward and put an end to this public spectacle.
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