Joseph Kennedy III and Tom Reed are an odd couple–Kennedy is a Liberal Democrat from Boston, while Reed is a Conservative Republican from a largely rural district in western NY. It seems unlikely that they would agree on anything, yet they have joined in sponsoring H.R. 2996, RAMI. What’s going on here, one wonders?
- Proposed by President Obama
- Favored by many Democrats
- Inconsistent with libertarian views
- Partially implemented with Executive Orders to the dislike of many Republicans
- Got bipartisan support in House and Senate
- Was contrived not to draw directly on the Treasury
It is surprising that the House would vote on such a bill, and that it would pass the House on a voice vote.
I speculate that both Kennedy and Reed needed a bill to claim as their own for personal reasons, and were selected by party leaders to sponsor it in a political deal. That would explain the unlikely sponsors, why the bill came to a vote, passed on a late-night voice vote, and now seems likely to become law. Still, questions remain:
- The bill as introduced was amended by the Science and Technology Committee. Were the revisions substantive?
- Are the House and Senate bills identical?
- Did the House wait till September to vote to put the Senate on the spot?
- If this bill is part of a compromise between House and Senate, what else is is included in the compromise?
Stay tuned–it will be interesting to see what happens next. One thing seems clear–both congressmen will continue to celebrate passage by the House whether or not RAMI becomes law.
© William Hungerford – September 2014