Readers Write: Covid relief bill not vetted outside back rooms

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Today’s congressional generation could learn much from the late Idaho Republican Sen. James A. McClure. For 18 years, he read every word of every bill before voting on it. Even taking an Evelyn Wood speed reading class would not have provided sufficient time for any Congress member to absorb the 5,593 pages contained in the $1.4 trillion legislation for funding the federal government and $892 billion more for a second CARE COVID-19 relief package.

Only lobbyists and key congressional staff members (employed by the House and Senate leadership teams) who actually wrote the fine print on behalf of their bosses have any idea of the details buried in the actual contents. There should be adequate time for members of Congress, ordinary citizens, the media and independent good government watchdog groups the opportunity to understand all of the contents contained in this legislation. Everyone would also have the option under an open process to comment and discuss the benefits or consequences before others vote up or down for adoption. Congress should have held public hearings in the light of day instead of meeting in the back room offices of House Majority Speaker Pelosi, House Minority Leader McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Schumer.

The result will be increasing our national debt by $1 trillion to a record $28 trillion, $83,000 per citizen or $220,000 per taxpayer. So much for open transparency in government.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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