iPad Would Have Improved Energy-Rationing Vote in 111th Congress

by William Yeatman on July 6, 2011

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Energy & Environment News (subscription required) reported this morning that Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) purchased 21 iPads for senators and committee staff, in an effort to cut down on paper use. According to the story, “Each is loaded with all the relevant documents” necessary to legislate effectively.

When I read this news, I couldn’t help but think how great it would have been if the House of Representatives had one such iPad, “loaded with all the relevant documents,” on the evening of June 26, 2009*. At the time, the Democrat-controlled House was about to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a cap-and-trade energy-rationing scheme, despite the fact that no one had read the bill. Indeed, it would have been impossible for anyone to have read the bill, because there wasn’t a copy of the legislation available.

Why wasn’t a copy of the bill at hand before the vote? Because its author, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), added 300 pages only hours before final debate was scheduled to begin. As I explain here, these 300 pages were chock full of special favors that Rep. Waxman used to buy enough votes to ensure the bill’s passage.

Thankfully, this cap-and-trade energy-rationing scheme died in the Senate, due to bi-partisan opposition.

*N.B. Apple introduced the iPad in April 2010, so my hypothetical situation would require a time machine, in addition to an iPad “loaded with all the relevant documents.”

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