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September 20, 2003

Legal Monstrosity of Conference Committee

Rules Barring Air Traffic Controller Privatization, Passed in Both House and Senate, Stripped in Conference Committee

Take out your handy dandy Constitution. There's mention of a House of Representatives, that can pass bills, and a Senate, which can pass bills. And it says all bills for raising revenue shall orgininate in the House, and if it also passed in the Senate, it goes onto the President for approval.

So how the hell can this monstrosity called a "conference committee" strip out a provision passed in both chambers. See here on the recent FAA appropriations bill:

the White House, seeking to cut the size of the government's work force, has threatened to veto any reauthorization measure that includes language preventing the agency from contracting out the work of hundreds of air traffic controllers at 69 specifically designated airports around the country.

The House and Senate versions of the measure both originally included such language. But, acting under the veto threat, a conference committee removed it.

Senators are mobilizing to block a bill that is different from what both they and the House approved-- a ridiculous situation, but all too common with a conference committee system that allows bogus deals to be cut away from the accountability of roll call votes.

See here for more on the perversion of democratic process due to the conference committee system.

Posted by Nathan at September 20, 2003 12:41 AM