EDMOND — In yet another example of the negative impact of overreaching federal power without the benefit of careful consideration, the majority leadership forced the passage of H.R. 2479, the Food Safety Enhancement Act. Members of Congress were given less than 24 hours to review the bill before it was voted on. The House Agriculture Committee, which had clear jurisdiction over the bill, was bypassed during the drafting stages so that not a single hearing or markup was held. Once again, this Congress has used a flawed process to create a flawed piece of legislation.
It is, unfortunately, what we have come to expect from the majority leadership in the 111th Congress — from the food safety bill, to the stimulus package, to cap-and-trade, to the health care legislation — President Obama and Speaker Pelosi seemed intent on blatantly disregarding the legislative process in an attempt to cram their liberal agenda through Congress, whether we like it or not.
This is no way to create law. We have an established legislative process in Congress for a reason. Allowing hearings and markups in each committee of jurisdiction ensures that all areas of a bill are reviewed and tweaked, resulting in the best bill possible.
There are major pieces of legislation currently before Congress, like health care and cap-and-trade, that will have long-term effects on our economy and on the way we live our lives. The American people deserve elected officials who do everything they can to ensure that these bills are the best available option— not the one that can be most quickly crammed across the floor for a vote.
As members of Congress head home for the August district work period, I hope they will all take the time to listen to their constituents. No one benefits from a flawed legislative process — it only leads to flawed policy.
FRANK LUCAS represents Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. For more Frankly Speakings, visit Rep. Lucas’ Blog at https://www.house.gov/lucas/frankly-speaking/index.shtml.
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