John McCaslin

No time to digest

Hats off to Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat, for acknowledging that congressmen often have no idea what they're voting for or against.

Mr. Sherman recently came back to the floor of the House and clarified for the record his recent vote in opposition to H.R. 1830, which extends the Andean Trade Preference Act until February 29, 2008. Not familiar with the legislation?
Neither was the congressman.

“When an issue is complex and worthy of substantial analysis, and a bill is presented to us in a format which short-circuits that analytical process and legislative debate, it is my policy to resolve any possible doubt in the direction of a 'No' vote,” he told the body.
“Furthermore, the Ways and Means Committee marked up H.R. 1830 on the same day that the House considered the bill. Under such circumstances, members of the House had virtually no time to review the bill and I felt obliged to vote no.”

City's worth

One might say an entire city is working to keep America safe from terrorists.

We're told that the Department of Homeland Security, in existence since 2003 and consisting of several federal agencies, now has a work force of 171,000-strong that is spread throughout the entire United States.

We checked, and 171,000 is the exact population of Arlington, Va., and Huntington Beach, Calif.

Bribing America

“As per our summer schedule, we are notifying you when new articles are now up on the 'To The Point' home page,” reads a news alert sent to Inside the Beltway, drawing attention to the latest release: “The Many Ways to Bribe Politicians.”
OK, our curiosity is piqued.

But upon reading the article by Dagny D'Anconia, best known for penning the “Political Nasdaq” column, this new degree of bribing has nothing to do with politicians like former California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a Republican now serving eight years in prison after pleading guilty to accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes.

Nor does it refer to current lawmakers like Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson, the Democrat whose freezer was found to contain $90,000 in alleged bribe-related cash (his new nickname, if you haven't heard, is Congressman “Cold Cash” Jefferson).

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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