A New Day, A New Secret Hold?

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Sep 05, 2006 4:34 PM

Ahh, so the porkers are fighting a war of attrition, are they?

Another Democratic senator appears to have placed a “secret hold” on legislation that would pry open the murky world of federal contracting to public scrutiny.

That’s the word that Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn received Tuesday from the Republican cloakroom, the place that tracks who is blocking legislation using the parliamentary maneuver.

The news came soon after Coburn learned that Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, had finally lifted his hold on the measure that Coburn and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., introduced in April. The measure would create a searchable database of some $2.5 trillion in federal contracts, grants, loans, insurance and federal assistance each year.

Will it work? Third outing not as fun as the first? Could be, but Frist needs to be pulling more strings than a puppeteer right now to get this thing to the floor. The fact is, no matter who the holder is, the generally anti-incumbent sentiment this is ginning up plays against Republicans.

Given the "double-whammy" Republicans have already inflicted on their majority by abandoning the immigration issue they spent all recess drumming up their base about, now would be a really good time to make. something. happen.

This is a good bill that polls well. Jump on it. Make. Something. Happen.

Update: The Democrats are on the case! Unfortunately, Howard Dean's six days behind the story.

A Google-like web site to find out where your tax dollars go -- seems like a no-brainer, right?

Think again. A Republican Senator famous for pork barrel spending placed a "secret hold" that's preventing the proposal from even getting a vote. The mystery Senator has revealed himself -- it's none other than Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who became famous for trying to waste taxpayer dollars to build a "bridge to nowhere".

It's time to ratchet up the pressure and get this bill on the Congressional agenda. Tell Ted Stevens to give this important open government measure a fair up or down vote:

It does seem like a no-brainer. If only we could get Stevens to drop the hold...

Update: Mark Tapscott lays out the possible, weaselly scenario.

Looks to me like opponents of Coburn-Obama have decided to see how long the measure's supporters in the Blogosphere can keep up the campaign of unmasking anonymous holders. There are more than 75 senators who are not co-sponsors of the bill.

If even a dozen or 15 of them agree to place successive anonymous holds after each new holder is unmasked - assuming they are - they could easily exhaust the legislative calendar and perhaps also the Blogosphere, thus effectively blocking consideration of the bill.

Make. Something. Happen. Frist.

Update: Frist takes a shot at making the Dems 'fess up.

My Democrat colleagues have not yet cleared this legislation ... but I'm confident that they will do so promptly or pay the consequences of continued obstruction.

Now is the time to act on S. 2590. And we will act this September to pass this bill and bring the bright light of public scrutiny to the federal budget.

Update: Ahh, but Ted Stevens, ever the spoiler, reportedly has his hold BACK ON the bill. Classy.

Update: Look at Sen. Frist, makin' something happen.

Update from Senator Frist: As soon as I blogged this, I received word that a Republican Senator has not cleared the bill. Let me be clear, hold or no hold, I will bring this legislation to the floor for a vote in September.