JAMES BOVARD: 11th-hour COVID-19 relief deal proves again that Congress is unfit to govern.

“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap,” Napoleon reputedly said more than two centuries ago. Boundless ignorance is also not a handicap, as Congress demonstrated Monday night by approving a 5,593-page bill with no time to read it. The usual suspects are indignant at the sloppy procedures propelling $2.3 trillion in federal spending, including a last-minute $900 billion deal for COVID-19 relief. But reckless legislating has been standard procedure on Capitol Hill for almost three decades.

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Democratic Sen. David Boren of Oklahoma observed in 1991 that congressional “bills are five times longer on the average than they were just as recently as 1970, with a far greater tendency to micromanage every area of government.”

Conservatives were outraged, and a Republican Leadership Task Force proclaimed in 1993: “A bill that cannot survive a 3-day scrutiny of its provisions is a bill that should not be enacted.”

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Republicans captured control of Congress the following year, but that did not deter House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton from jamming a 4,000-page, 40-pound agreement through Congress in 1998. Legendary “King of Pork” Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia declared, “Only God knows what’s in this monstrosity.”

www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/12/23/covid-relief-deal-ignorant-lawmaking-unfit-congress-column/4008720001/

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