Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Talking Hairdo Alert!
Over at the Washington Times, Charles Hurt has a puzzler:
In April, the House voted 421-1 to pass the HEROES Act, which essentially would defer student loans for soldiers called into action. The only dissenting vote was cast accidentally by one of the bill's sponsors.
Well, that's rather strange, but we're after bigger game.
The bill is stalled in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under a "secret hold," said Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican and chairman of the committee.

Senate tradition allows members to lodge secret, or "anonymous," holds against a bill and block it indefinitely.

Supporters of the bill, the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, were mystified for months that anyone would hold up such popular legislation, but couldn't pinpoint the culprit.
I wonder if it is like "double secret probation"?
Capitol Hill speculation about the secret hold eventually centered on Mr. Edwards, one of four senators seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

"Apparently, presidential politics got involved," Mr. Kline said.

One Republican staffer on the Senate education panel said Mr. Edwards is holding up the bill so that he can take top credit for passing it later.

"Edwards likes this issue and he wants to see his name on it," the staffer said.

Mr. Edwards and his office initially denied responsibility for blocking the bill at all.
Told last week that everyone involved with the legislation adamantly said that Mr. Edwards put the hold on it, Edwards spokesman Mike Briggs replied, "They're adamantly wrong."

Yesterday, however, Mr. Briggs acknowledged that his boss was stalling the bill.

"We support this bill, but Senator Edwards wants his amendment voted on," he said. "He wants to make a good bill better."
That Johnny, he's a man of the people.