Check Your Balances


“Only in Washington is it a radical idea to read a bill and know how much it costs before we agree to pass it.”

Who said this? Sen. Jim DeMint. Why did he say it? Because, today, his office sent a memo to Republican Senate staff, letting them know that he would be putting a legislative block on all bills on the Senate floor that he did not approve of.

Some say that he’s doing this in an attempt to usurp Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s power–perhaps trying to gain momentum, with the ultimate goal of taking over the role as Minority Leader. He’s already campaigned for several non-establishment Republican congressional candidates around the country which has been seen as a similar move. That’s politics.

But reading a bill and knowing how much it costs is not a radical idea in Washington. It’s a responsible idea. If only that was DeMint’s idea.

Perhaps the rules of the Senate need tweaking. But what Sen. DeMint is forgetting is that we already have a system of deciding what does and doesn’t pass in the Senate. It’s a system that’s worked for us for us for a little over two centuries. It’s called voting. When our representatives in the House and Senate think that a project shouldn’t be funded or that an amendment should be stricken from a bill, they don’t block it from coming to the floor. They simply vote “no.” Checks and balances are an imperative part of our governmental system so that one branch–or one person–can’t get too powerful, and so that the populace is represented based on the opinion of the populace and not the opinion of an old fart from Charleston.

It is unthinkably self-centered and ignorant for one man to think that he should be the author and editor of the entire congressional agenda.