August 31, 2006

It Was Byrd
— Ace

So, his spokewoman lied. Just as I suspected.

My guy always comes through.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd admits that he placed a "secret hold" on legislation that would make uncovering the Byzantine world of federal contracting as easy as typing a Google search.

Tom Gavin, spokesperson for Byrd, confirmed to Cox Newspapers that the senator placed the hold on legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., before voting on the measure.

Byrd joins Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, for holding up the bill right before Congress left town on August 4.

Byrd merely wanted more time to evaluate the legislation that would create a new database of some $2.5 trillion in federal spending on contracts, loans, financial assistance and insurance.

"Senator Byrd wanted time to read the legislation, understand its implications, and see whether the proposal could be improved," Gavin said.

Byrd has released his hold, now that there "has been time to better understand the legislation," Gavin said.

"Senator Byrd believes that the bill should be debated and opened for amendment, and not pushed through without discussion," Gavin said.

"There was an effort to pass a bill on an important subject without debate just before the Senate recess," Gavin said. Senators have an obligation to their constituents to know what they are voting on before signing off on any proposal, he said.

"On August 2, the last day before a month-long Senate recess, a Senate committee gave its approval to a brand new piece of legislation, cosponsored by Senator Obama and Senator Coburn," Gavin said. "That same day, there was an effort to rush the legislation through the Senate without any Senator having the chance to ask questions," he said.

Uh-huh.

Thanks to Deep Stoat.

Posted by: Ace at 11:23 AM | Comments (57)
Post contains 297 words, total size 2 kb.

1 What the hell?  I thought Stevens confessed yesterday.

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at August 31, 2006 11:25 AM (ATbKm)

2

I'm still not cool with Frist.  Shouldn't he know who placed the hold?  And then out him?


Posted by: Some Guy at August 31, 2006 11:26 AM (lPxkl)

3 Some Guy-

Not necessarily. That can be delivered by the opposition leader, and not necessarily by the guy himself.

That doesn't necessarily let Frist off the hook, though... what's up with Stevens?

tmi3rd

Posted by: tmi3rd at August 31, 2006 11:29 AM (QMGqM)

4

Okay.  That also makes Reid an accessory, if Frist didn't know.


Stevens.  Pfeh. 


Posted by: Some Guy at August 31, 2006 11:32 AM (lPxkl)

5 If Frist did that he would have been considered a traitor by the rest of the Senate. Frankly, what we should expect now is a drive to end the secret hold altogether.

By the way, weird, isn't it, that two of the Senate's most prominent porkmeisters were coincidentally the ones most concerned with the ramifications and costs of this particular bill?

Posted by: Ken Begg at August 31, 2006 11:32 AM (VVf4R)

6 I don't see how secret holds should even be allowed.

I'm kind of surprised on Byrd being a "secret" hold. I would think he'd put in a hold and then crow about it to everybody. The only reason he's been in the senate these many years is his ability to bring in the pork to WV and crowing about it to his constituents.

Posted by: meep at August 31, 2006 11:32 AM (5j3FI)

7 What the hell? I thought Stevens confessed yesterday.

Obviously, it was both... At least Lott is open with his pork barrelling, the scary thing is that most people KNOW that Stevens and Byrd are nortorious for pork barrelling, yet STILL put a secret hold on the bill. How much more worse can the situation get? Could it be that their pork barrelling has less to do with bringing the bacon home than it is lining their own pockets with special interest money??

Posted by: JFH at August 31, 2006 11:33 AM (HxR1t)

8 Don't blame Stevens and Byrd for delivering the pork to their constituents. Blame the other 98 for not putting a stop to this out of date senate rule.

Posted by: shawn at August 31, 2006 11:35 AM (N1IMb)

9

>>What the hell?  I thought Stevens confessed yesterday


Tob, Byrd was the second secret-holder.... on a grassy knoll...


Posted by: Tushar D at August 31, 2006 11:36 AM (tyRhL)

10 LOL, will there be a third?  from the overpass?

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at August 31, 2006 11:38 AM (ATbKm)

11

JFH,


Byrd did not need to crow about the hold. It was more important for him that the bill was blocked, so his party could continue. I think Reid busted his sacks hard to get him to confess. Reid was afraid of a late discovery and the bigger fallout later on, closer to election.


Posted by: Tushar D at August 31, 2006 11:42 AM (tyRhL)

12 sickening.

Posted by: jdubious at August 31, 2006 11:43 AM (G7s9a)

13 By party, I mean his hog-fest. Not the Dem Party.

Posted by: Tushar D at August 31, 2006 11:44 AM (tyRhL)

14 Byrd merely wanted more time to evaluate the legislation that would create a new database of some $2.5 trillion in federal spending on contracts, loans, financial assistance and insurance.

"Senator Byrd wanted time to read the legislation, understand its implications, and see whether the proposal could be improved," Gavin said.


Uh-huh, suuuuuuuure!

Posted by: Kanelin at August 31, 2006 11:50 AM (DHWob)

15 well, what's the trajectory of the dems (+ stevens?)

back... and to the left...
back.. and to the left...

Posted by: jdubious at August 31, 2006 11:50 AM (G7s9a)

16 ' "Senator Byrd wanted time to read the legislation, understand its implications, and see whether the proposal could be improved," Gavin said. '


I seriously doubt Byrd has read (or will read) a single word of this bill. Senators have staffers do the grunt work, while they stand around pretending to know which way is up.

Posted by: right at August 31, 2006 11:51 AM (EzLNA)

17 Byrd is gay, should be shot, and fragged.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at August 31, 2006 11:51 AM (QTv8u)

18 and by improved, of course, he meant shitcanned.

Posted by: jdubious at August 31, 2006 11:52 AM (G7s9a)

19 Why all of the fuss? Didn't any of you read the article for Allahs sake. Byrd put the secret hold on it for us....for his people. It's not true that he has appropriated $600,000 for new white pillow sheets and kerosene soaked wood....not true....not true.
C'mon they always think of us first, read the fucking story !!!!

Posted by: Mike J at August 31, 2006 11:53 AM (fEnUg)

20 By a joyful godless treasonous harpy

Posted by: Wickedpinto at August 31, 2006 11:55 AM (QTv8u)

21 Curious as to when Byrd may be most likely to drop dead (shades of Ann coulter!), I looked up his age (8 . Anyway, I didn't know his daugher is married to a muslim. Mr. & Mrs. Mohammad Fatemi

Posted by: shawn at August 31, 2006 11:56 AM (N1IMb)

22 Not Stevens or Byrd, but Stevens *and* Byrd?

Louie, round up the usual suspects.

Posted by: ras at August 31, 2006 12:00 PM (1GLHP)

23 Curious as to when Byrd may be most likely to drop dead

He's no Strom so I'd be very surprised if he makes it through another term..

Tob

Posted by: Toby928 at August 31, 2006 12:00 PM (ATbKm)

24 See, like WP just demonstrated, we need to save the empty threats for the real opposition

Posted by: hobgoblin at August 31, 2006 12:03 PM (p1s9n)

25

Senators have an obligation to their constituents to know
what they are voting on before signing off on any proposal, he said.



 



Since When????


Posted by: A. Weasel at August 31, 2006 12:14 PM (RvUfa)

26 The Kleagle does have a point, even if it has zero correlation with why he actually put a hold on the bill. 

It seems to me that any (non-emergency) bill should have a fixed amount of soak time before coming up for a vote.  There's been plenty of wasteful spending and other extraneous and generally bad crap inserted into bills right before they come up for a vote.  At that point, nobody (including individual staffs) really knows what they're voting on.

Of course, a definition of "non-emergency" is pretty much impossible.  Providing free healthcare to the 720 million Americans that don't already have it or a minimum wage of $200/hr. could be considered an emergency to some.  Unanimous consent seems like as good a rule as any to determine what can go up quickly. 

So I guess I don't have much of a problem with senators being able to hold a bill, so long as the hold is temporary and some mechanism exists to override it.

I have no idea how long this particular bill was in circulation before a vote.

Posted by: pbrown at August 31, 2006 12:15 PM (7b6pT)

27 they ALL suck

buncha god forsaken prevaricating freekin politicians

Posted by: Red Right Hand at August 31, 2006 12:26 PM (VuJCG)

28 Hell, there's no proof of Lott not holding the bill. If one Senator's staffer can lie on request, they all can.

Posted by: Dogstar at August 31, 2006 12:33 PM (Rz/5R)

29 Red Right Hand,

thats a damn fine average of syllables.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at August 31, 2006 12:34 PM (QTv8u)

30 Why did he have to place a "secret hold" on it. If that is really the way he felt about it, wanting time to review it before voting on it, then why a secret hold?
I'm calling bullshit on his reasoning.

Posted by: Rob G at August 31, 2006 12:41 PM (MTu19)

31 The only way to permanently eliminate the secret hold is to amend the Constitution. It clearly gives each house of Congress the power to set its own rules so even if the current Senate gives up that bit of power, there's no way to stop a future Senate from reinstituting the practice unless Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 is amended to prohibit secret holds.

Posted by: Captain Ned at August 31, 2006 12:55 PM (osioG)

32 Can't they legislate a broad rule and make it stand until it is recinded?

and if it's voted up, they would have to vote it down publicly. no hiding.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at August 31, 2006 01:11 PM (QTv8u)

33 Carefully parse Byrd's statement.

He cannot both release the hold and get the opportunity to offer an amendment.

Either he released the hold or he didn't. It appears as though his spokesperson made a deliberate misstatement about action taken by Byrd.

Posted by: Deep Stoat at August 31, 2006 01:57 PM (BUB23)

34 Wait, so it was Stevens AND Byrd?

Shocking that CNN refused to acknowledge the Democrat senator's part in this when they reported on this story earlier. Absolutely SHOCKING.

Posted by: Vyce at August 31, 2006 02:09 PM (Ba7+C)

35 Big shock, Robert "amendments" Byrd, former Klan Grand Kleagle and pork king of the universe is the guy? Wow, who saw that coming. Oh yeah, most of us.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at August 31, 2006 02:25 PM (FuM7z)

36 "Senator Byrd wanted time to read the legislation, understand its implications, and see whether the proposal could be improved,"

Thus, the secret hold. Normally, he and Stevens just have their underlings call their contributors in descending order of largesse until they find one that cares which way the vote goes. But this here is very important legislation, and certainly warranted their close, personal attention.

Posted by: anotheranon at August 31, 2006 02:54 PM (lbmO+)

37 Senator Byrd wanted time to read the legislation

And Ted Kennedy wanted time to read a book about CPR before he jumped back in the water and saved Mary Jo.

Posted by: Bart at August 31, 2006 02:58 PM (qLobi)

38 It's like setting a trap to catch the raccoon that's been stealing your food, and catching him *AND* the rat that's been gnawing on your cables.

Posted by: Tushar D at August 31, 2006 03:05 PM (9ULFg)

39 Barbara Boxer on Olbermann just insinuated that if you don't criticize bush you are "bordering on treason" I guess that is supposed to be attributed to teddy roosevelt.

Granted, she didn't say it outright, but the insinuation was clear.

When are the goose and the gander gonna start sharing hardships?

Posted by: Wickedpinto at August 31, 2006 03:14 PM (QTv8u)

40 It's like setting a trap to catch the raccoon that's been stealing your food, and catching him *AND* the rat that's been gnawing on your cables.

Tushar,
You, um. . . you are uh. . .from a rural area? or just a REALY bad neighborhood?

Posted by: Wickedpinto at August 31, 2006 03:16 PM (QTv8u)

41 Sheets probably wanted to have his name affixed to a plaque attached to the secret hold. What the hell. His name is on every other Federal building and every third highway rest stop in West-by God- Virginia.

Posted by: Border Reiver at August 31, 2006 03:39 PM (P/FRz)

42 You did call that, Ace. Nice nice, your political acuman score just went up a point.

I'm still chuckling tho, at Byrd being "your guy". You and the kleagle eh? Do you give him a reacharound, or is he too arthritic?

Posted by: Alear at August 31, 2006 03:43 PM (KNFNn)

43 >>
Tushar,


You, um. . . you are uh. . .from a rural area? or just a REALY bad neighborhood?

Worse. I am from New Jersey. The only place in US where rural Raccoons co-exist with urban Rats.

Posted by: Tushar D at August 31, 2006 03:58 PM (9ULFg)

44 It's good to be right, I said last week, WVA klansman and Stevens were the two holds.  This is not rocket sceince, these boys think our money is their money, I've been a legislator, I know the mindset.  NO apologys, we know what is best for you. And I think they have a point, gosh, we have plans that you little people just don't understand, please don't remind us that it is your money.  SICK the Klansman need to go down. 

Posted by: kempermanx at August 31, 2006 04:41 PM (Wc54u)

45 Bobby Byrd and the pretense of virtue.

(A hundred years from now, someone will pull Ace's server off its dirty, dusty shelf in the Smithsonian, fire it up, look about a bit, and then say to the talking monkey at her arm::

("WHAT THE FUCK?")

Posted by: Joshua S. Rubenstein at August 31, 2006 04:54 PM (Pp67d)

46 Frist and Reid are supposed to be leaders. A leader should do some-arm-twisting on the guilty party and/or boldy call them out.

Had Frist done that, publicly, he'd get so many votes, and maybe it'd put the fear of God into the Senate.

Or stalled legislation for years. Win-win.

Posted by: Some Guy at August 31, 2006 05:05 PM (BZBIC)

47 Woo Hoo! I called them both.

West Virginia should just get it over with and rename the whole damn state

Posted by: XWL at August 31, 2006 05:17 PM (5GIMG)

48 So, is this a living, breathing Occams Razor moment?

Posted by: Tom M at August 31, 2006 06:33 PM (TtaDz)

49 Oh, and you guys are a riot in here.

Posted by: Tom M at August 31, 2006 06:34 PM (TtaDz)

50 (WP, refering to RRH at #27)

thats a damn fine average of syllables.



Posted by: Tom M at August 31, 2006 06:37 PM (TtaDz)

51 "Tob, Byrd was the second secret-holder.... on a grassy knoll..."

The AoS Lifestyle - find the line, walk up to the line, dance a little around it, nudge it a little. Not really cross it, but get to know it real well.

Posted by: Tom M at August 31, 2006 06:40 PM (TtaDz)

52 "Senator Byrd believes that the bill should be debated and opened for amendment, and not pushed through without discussion"

Sure, the bill will pass, along with a brand new amendment authorizing federal funds for the brand new "Robert C. Byrd Memorial Mountain Ski Lodge". He just wants the chance to attach some pork to this bill designed to put transparency into where pork is going. Which, frankly, is good politics for him. He can stand in front of his constituents and declare that even in the face of national opposition, he can bring home the bacon for West Virginia. And until the Senate as a whole wises up, he can.

Posted by: moleman1976 at August 31, 2006 08:12 PM (c+WSm)

53 Damn he is one i would not mind seen retired to a cage SQUAWK SQUAWK he realy ruffles my feathers

Posted by: spurwing plover at September 01, 2006 05:56 AM (1mdPR)

54 *AND* the rat that's been gnawing on your cables.

I once found a mummified squirrel in an attic clamped on a piece of Romex that had made that mistake. I guess it tastes good to a rodent...until they get through the insulation that is.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 01, 2006 08:56 AM (WxRQS)

55 My late dad used to work on old radios when they still used vacum tubes he once found a mouse skelleton in some oldmans radio

Posted by: spurwing plover at September 02, 2006 03:05 PM (gJhPg)

56 spurwing, you can listen to old radio shows here.

Posted by: bartwing plover at September 02, 2006 03:07 PM (WFR/d)

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