Sunday, June 04, 2006

Air out the smoke-filled rooms

PoliBlog's Steven Taylor makes a strong case for the abolition of congressional conference committees -- the handful of handpicked lawmakers who have almost limitless power to modify legislation in unpredictable ways under the guise of reconciling the House and Senate versions of a bill -- and I'm inclined to agree with him.

The purported main drawback to the idea -- that it would take longer to bounce different versions back and forth across Capitol Hill than to hammer out differences in private -- is actually a huge point in its favor. Not only would the elimination of conference committees bring the meat of the lawmaking process back out in the open where it belongs, but it also would slow the legislative train to discourage Congress from rashly producing bad laws.

It's a great idea, which of course means it probably won't happen.


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