Reid’s Back-Alley Tactics Revive Omnibus Land Bill
By Fred Kelly Grant
December 21, 2010
As a result of Senator Harry Reids back-alley tactics, both the Food Safety Bill and the Omnibus Public land and water bills are headed for passage by the entire Congress. The Food Safety Bill was passed by unanimous consent as a substitute for an already passed House bill. The Omnibus Public Lands and Water bill is headed for passage as “America’s Great Outdoors Act” also as a substitute.
The public lands bill was furtively put into action on the floor of the Senate by Reid late Sunday evening near the end of an unusual Sunday session designed for debate on the Arms treaty. The Bill which pundits said could not and would not be considered in the lame duck session could be voted on this week, or even the week after Christmas. Reid has threatened that the Senate will stay in session until January 5, 2011 if necessary to get this package and others passed.
The stealth with which Reid worked the back-hall ways of the Senate on this bill would defy the imagination of the average American citizen. His dark, guarded methods will make it difficult for real change to be made in the 112th Congress that convenes in January, 2011. His tactics, even though performed in plain sight, defy openness to the point at which citizens have no adequate notice and time to state their positions to their Senators.
His very best misdirection is evidenced by introduction on Sunday evening of the Lands Bill. It is a 1003 page bill including everything from imposing beach control to locking up hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands into wilderness. Representative Doc Hastings of Washington State says the cost to the taxpayers will be $18 BILLION DOLLARS.
If a citizen attempts to find the “Omnibus Public Lands Bill” by internet, the effort will no doubt fail. At the end of an unusual Sunday work session yesterday, Reid high jacked a completely unrelated bill by amending it to become the omnibus Bill called “America’s Great Outdoors Bill of 2010.”
Here is how it happened: Last Thursday Senator Reid announced that he thought the idea of an omnibus bill was dead for this session of Congress. He said “I’m not sure we can get that done now. I sure would like to get it done, but I’m not sure we can.”
Immediately the word went out over the internet that “the Omnibus Lands Bill is dead for this session.” Those of us who have followed Reid over the years knew better and warned that citizens must keep their eyes and ears open.