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Congress' Competence, Attention to Detail Strike Again

11:29 AM, Aug 9, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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So desperate is the United States Congress to spend $26 billion to bail out state governments—ensuring state governments have no incentive to stay within budgets, so that we can bail them out repeatedly until the end of time— that they didn't even name the bill.

H.R. 1586 has adopted the name, the “______Act of____,” apparently because of the haste with which the Senate wanted to pass the bill last week.

The Senate’s substitute amendment on this $26 billion spending bill had a placeholder bill name, and it could not take time to replace the placeholder. The House is expected to return this week and pass the Senate amendment, sending it to the president.

Forget reading bills. They can't even get around to the short, self-congratulatory exercise of slapping an Orwellian name on the thing. It may be too late to change it:

Whatever the name, or no name, associated with the legislation, it may be too late to christen the bill properly. The Senate has left town until mid-September, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the House of Representatives back into session to vote on the same unidentified legislation.

Elsewhere, the bill is referred to as the XXXX Act of XXXX. Perhaps as fitting a title as possible for the perverse incentives it represents.

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