29 August 2006

A 'Secret Hold,' Eh?

[Hooh! I'm not dead! :-p]

So. Roundabouts two months ago I posted on a bill being introduced in the Senate that would make publicly available a searchable database of all government spending. I was concerned, though, that those involved in spending that money might not be keen on having people seeing how and on what they're doing that spending. I'll quote myself here, if I may:

I suppose the only problem is that it has to go far in Congress in order to get implemented... :-P Dunno how keen a lot of them are going to be on voting for something that will put a lot of scrutiny on their pet pork projects.

Aaaaand, wouldn't ya know. An as-yet unnamed senator has placed a 'secret hold' on this bill, essentially locking the legislation in the proverbial (or maybe not, I dunno) cabinet for as long as they choose. Shocking! However, the folks at Porkbusters are doing their best to ferret out who it is, here. In conjunction with a couple of other sites, they've contacted as many senators as possible and asked them if they're responsible for the hold. As of this post, there are seven senators who've not denied responsibility for the hold. (Of course, one of the deniers could easily have been lying through his/her teeth, but that would be DUMMMBBB...) Hafta say, it'll be interesting to see what happens when the culprit is finally revealed.

Actually, according to the post on the Corner that linked me over to TPMmuckraker, "within 72 hours the Senate leader reveals who the senator is to the bill's sponsor." While this doesn't mean that the name is automatically released to the public, I expect that the sponsors of the bill will have little reason to keep quiet on the culprit's name, and we'll get to watch the ensuing fireworks.

I'll say it again, I really like the idea of this bill. Here's hoping that this hold gets cleared up and the thing flies through!

Update, 10:30PM: Oop, make that five senators who've not directly denied responsibility. The plot thickens!


Diane said...

I actually read today on cnn.com that the "secret block" really wasn't a secret at all. It was just being handled on a personal basis and not in the media. Apparently Sen Stevens (R-Alaska) had some issues and questions he wanted addressed. Since Alaska currently has some of the fattest pork in the union, I'm not sure I believe any of it, hey, another mystery solved!

Brian said...

Not knowing much detail of the actual procedural rules in place pertaining to such blocks, I can't really speak to the actual level of 'secrecy' involved... regardless, it was (at least temporarily) being kept a secret from the public, which in today's voracious media environment...

Most blogs that I saw who'd weighed in on this had pegged Sen. Stevens (R-AK) almost from the beginning, as he had been championing the Gravina Island Bridge, dubbed the "Bridge to Nowhere." I'll leave a discussion of the politics of that issue for another post (maybe).