Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Credit Cards And...Guns?

Will somebody please explain to me what being able to carry handguns in national parks and federal wildlife areas has to do with national credit card reform?

As the L.A. Times reports, Democrats and Republicans were able to come together on reforming questionable credit card practices such as unfair interest rate hikes (and other things too). But tacked on to the very end of the article was this paragraph (italics mine):

"As part of a compromise, the Senate legislation includes an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would allow visitors to national parks and federal wildlife areas to carry handguns if permitted by state law."

What does this mean? That Republicans won't support credit card reform unless there is some gun reform thrown in there too?

How legitimate then is Republican support for credit card reform in the first place?

Why is it that Republicans won't support a bill in Congress unless as part of that bill someone is getting hurt in some way, getting their job taken away, getting their access to healthcare taken away, getting access to a decent education taken away, or is getting shot by a .45 in a national park while birdwatching?


Dimensio said...

It is common for even unrelated "rider" amendments to be attached to major proposals as a means of rapidly introducing promised reforms without undergoing the task of formally submitting full legislation. In some instances, riders may be attached specifically to deter votes from legislators who would otherwise vote in favour of the full bill. It is fortunate, in this case, that the attached "rider" is ultimately desirable, as the current restriction on firearms in National Parks is entirely unreasonable and unnecessary.

Your statement with respect to being shot with a .45 while birdwatching is curious; no aspect of the amendment would allow the use of deadly force against birdwatchers. I believe that you may have misread the amendment.

Josh Haden said...

Thanks for you comment, Dimensio! Much appreciated!

Whether or not the current restriction on firearms in National Parks is unreasonable and unnecessary I think is debatable. You might not agree with me there, but that's OK.

I think that, as the L.A. Times article suggests, the firearms "rider" was attached to the end of the credit card bill as a "compromise" so that certain legislators (Republican, I'm assuming) would vote to approve it.

Simply stated, I question the Republican commitment to credit card reform in this country if they need to have an unrelated bill (and a pet project, "pork", if you will, no less) tacked on to sweeten it up.

I am aware about how rider amendments can work. Just because it is common practice doesn't mean its right. This practice in many instances is manipulative and leads towards dishonesty. Its sneaky and underhanded, and both parties are guilty of it.

If Sen. Coburn really believes so much in his project, why doesn't he do the courageous thing and present it as a standalone bill to Congress?

But the Senate is not lacking in cowards!

Anyways, I assume your answer to my original question is "nothing"!

Thanks again for your comment!!

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