There have been no hearings. No publicly available copies of the bill. No Democratic involvement. Not a single attempt to include the public in the legislative process.
A vote is set for next week.
A Monday briefing with spokesman
These stories are related and reveal a deeply disturbing goal: conducting America's public business in private.
Almost all politicians work outside the public sphere, of course. We harbor no illusions: Last-minute budget bills and leadership-negotiated "grand bargains" have become commonplace in
But the current push to exclude the press and the public from important events seems less tactical than philosophical. Lawmakers and the
Senate Majority Leader
"Nobody's hiding the ball here," he said last week. "There have been gazillions of hearings on this subject."
The claim is ridiculous. There have been no hearings -- none -- on the specifics of the Republican health care bill. Hearings allow members of the public and interested observers to analyze bills in real time and offer amendments and adjustments if needed.
"We have no idea what's being proposed," Sen.
City councils and school boards can't legally conduct business this way.
Neither approach is acceptable.
The public's business must be done in public. That means the fullest possible disclosure of important information, sufficient time and opportunity to understand and analyze options and -- yes -- access for journalists who represent the public's interest when questioning politicians and public servants.
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