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** Updated -- see below! **
Senator Tom Coburn's office has announced that the Senate has just passed a new bill to replace the language of the original S.2590, which establishes an on-line searchable database for federal spending. This action will expedite the legislative process and may put the bill on President Bush's desk by tomorrow:
The Senate just passed an amended version of the Coburn-Obama database bill based on our agreement with the House. Following House passage of the bill the measure will go to the president for his signature. Tonight’s action in the Senate means the Senate will not need to revisit the measure as the House will vote on this identical measure tonight or tomorrow.
The Senate, under Bill Frist's guidance, simply took the modified language under consideration in the House and passed it themselves first, apparently by acclamation. This eliminates the need for a conference committee and avoids any delay after the adoption of the bill in the House. That will come at the same time as their consideration of the rule change on earmarks that I noted this morning, although we have heard that some Representatives have tried to take the proposal off the agenda. If you have not yet done so, call your Representative and make sure that they understand the need for sunlight on earmarks.
This fast-tracking process reflects election-year politics, to be sure. No one wants to openly oppose reform legislation, especially when so many activists come from such a wide range of political perspectives to endorse it. However, it also shows that we can change the political paradigm and that there is hope for a pork-free tomorrow.
UPDATE: The bill passed the House tonight, and the bill is on its way to the White House for Bush's signature already. The White House released a statement tonight, although they hadn't realized that the Senate passed the same bill earlier in the day:
I applaud the House for today's passage of S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, and look forward to final passage by the Senate soon. This legislation demonstrates Congress' commitment to giving the American people access to timely and accurate information about how their tax dollars are spent.
This bill builds on existing Administration initiatives to help ensure Federal agencies clearly reflect how they spend the taxpayers' money. Expectmore.gov is one such resource, allowing Americans to see which Federal programs are successful and which ones fall short.
In addition to these reforms, I urge the Senate to follow the House in passing the Line Item Veto, a critical tool that will help rein in wasteful spending and bring greater transparency to the budget process. I call on the Senate to pass this important legislation this month.
Final Senate passage has already occurred, and the bill could become law as soon as tomorrow. Now, I think we can finally break out the champagne.Sphere It View blog reactions
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