Archive for September 24th, 2009
Official Citation: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a team leader with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, on June 21, 2006.
While Staff Sergeant Monti was leading a mission aimed at gathering intelligence and directing fire against the enemy, his 16-man patrol was attacked by as many as 50 enemy fighters. On the verge of being overrun, Staff Sergeant Monti quickly directed his men to set up a defensive position behind a rock formation. He then called for indirect fire support, accurately targeting the rounds upon the enemy who had closed to within 50 meters of his position. While still directing fire, Staff Sergeant Monti personally engaged the enemy with his rifle and a grenade, successfully disrupting an attempt to flank his patrol. Staff Sergeant Monti then realized that one of his Soldiers was lying wounded in the open ground between the advancing enemy and the patrol’s position.
With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Monti twice attempted to move from behind the cover of the rocks into the face of relentless enemy fire to rescue his fallen comrade. Determined not to leave his Soldier, Staff Sergeant Monti made a third attempt to cross open terrain through intense enemy fire. On this final attempt, he was mortally wounded, sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his fellow Soldier.
Staff Sergeant Monti’s selfless acts of heroism inspired his patrol to fight off the larger enemy force. Staff Sergeant Monti’s immeasurable courage and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and the United States Army.”
Straight from Fox News: “President Obama awarded the military’s highest honor to a soldier who died trying to save his wounded comrade in Afghanistan — saying Sgt. First Class Jared C. Monti personified the values of honor and heroism.
Obama presented the prestigious Medal of Honor award to Monti’s parents during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.
Monti of Raynham, Mass., died in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006, while trying to save a young private who was wounded. Obama said the fallen soldier “did something no amount of training can instill.”
In an interview with FOXNews.com Thursday, Monti’s mother, Janet, said the award is a “tremendous honor,” but she called the ceremony “bittersweet.”
“We’re very proud of him, but we’re also very sad,” she said.
Monti’s platoon — part of the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment — was on an intelligence-gathering patrol when it was ambushed by more than 60 insurgents in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province. After calling in artillery support and directing his men’s return fire, Monti braved withering enemy fire to try to pull the comrade to safety from an exposed position. Monti, who was 31, was mortally wounded on the third attempt.
Janet Monti described her son’s innate selflessness and desire to help others, saying he “would always stick up for the underdog.” She recounted a story in which her son rescued a group of children who were being taunted by Albanian youths while he was stationed in Kosovo.
“He picked the children up in his Humvee and drove them to school,” she said. “He had so much compassion.”
Embattled U.S. troops in northeastern Afghanistan also paid homage to Monti Thursday by officially rededicating their isolated outpost in the Hindu Kush Mountains in his name.
Thursday’s ceremony in Afghanistan, at Combat Operations Post Monti in Kunar province, was attended by about 50 soldiers not on duty. It was preceded by artillery fire on nearby mountain ridges to ward off Taliban gunmen who mortar and rocket the post.
“Most of us didn’t know him personally and most of us will know him only by his citation,” Maj. Pete Granger, executive officer of the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, said before a large plaque was unveiled in Monti’s honor.
“We honor his memory by continuing to fight for the same things he believed in: his soldiers, his family, his friends and his country.”
Nuristan Province, like Kunar province, earned a reputation as the “cradle of Jihad” in the 1980s’ mujahideen war against Soviet occupation forces. And the reputation sticks. Taliban insurgents use the rugged regions close to the Pakistani border as transit areas to and from central Afghanistan.
“He was a real hard-nosed NCO (non-commissioned officer),” Staff Sgt. Matthew Wolfanger, who was a member of Monti’s unit, told FOXNews.com. “He really demanded a lot out of his guys … but in the end we loved him for it because he took us from soldiers who were kinda just going through the motions doing our jobs to guys who were passionate about what we were doing.
“He brought the best out of us. We wanted to be the best because of him. He absolutely loved what he did, and he loved us, his soldiers.”
Wolfanger, 25, the keynote speaker at Thursday’s Afghanistan ceremony, said he wasn’t tasked to go on Monti’s fatal mission, but he and others listened in on the radio traffic.
“I knew it was bad from what they were saying, but it didn’t really go through my mind that my friends were out there and could actually be hurt. But at the end of it, when they said they had wounded and a KIA (killed in action) … you know … and they gave the roster numbers (of casualties) ….”
Wolfanger never finished the sentence.
The Medal of Honor, he said in prepared remarks, is “final confirmation of something that he had been to his soldiers all along, a hero.””
Straight from The Hill: “The president said he is “happy to look at” bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.
“I haven’t seen detailed proposals yet, but I’ll be happy to look at them,” Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called “Newspaper Revitalization Act,” that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin’s Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had played down the possibility of government assistance for news organizations, which have been hit by an economic downturn and dwindling ad revenue.
In early May, Gibbs said that while he hadn’t asked the president specifically about bailout options for newspapers, “I don’t know what, in all honesty, government can do about it.”
Obama said that good journalism is “critical to the health of our democracy,” but expressed concern toward growing tends in reporting — especially on political blogs, from which a groundswell of support for his campaign emerged during the presidential election.
“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,” he said.”
Straight from Fox News: “The White House on Monday tried to calm the controversy over a new report from the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan warning that the United States risks failure in the long-running war without more troops.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that while President Obama has read Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s assessment, he does not expect a formal request for more troops for a “little bit.” And he said the president is not yet focused on resource decisions.
“We’re going to conduct that strategic assessment and do that in a way that lays out the best path forward before we make resource decisions, rather than having this go the other way around where one makes resources decisions and then finds a strategy. That’s not what we’re doing,” Gibbs said.
While Republicans are pressing for more troops, the prospect of a greater U.S. presence in Afghanistan makes Democrats uneasy.
But McChrystal warned about the risk of ignoring the need for more troops in a five-page Commander’s Summary.
“Resources will not win this war, but under-resourcing could lose it,” he wrote. His 66-page report, sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Aug. 30, is now under review by Obama.
“Although considerable effort and sacrifice have resulted in some progress, many indicators suggest the overall effort is deteriorating,” McChrystal said of the war’s progress.
Geoff Morrell, a deputy assistant secretary of defense for communications issues, said in a statement the assessment “is a classified, pre-decisional document, intended to provide Obama and his national security team with the basis for a very important discussion about where we are now in Afghanistan and how best to get to where we want to be.”
While asserting that more troops are needed, McChrystal also pointed out an “urgent need” to significantly revise strategy. The U.S. needs to interact better with the Afghan people, McChrystal said, and better organize its efforts with NATO allies.
“We run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing tactical wins that cause civilian casualties or unnecessary collateral damage. The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves,” he wrote.
In his blunt assessment of the tenacious Taliban insurgency, McChrystal warned that unless the U.S. and its allies gain the initiative and reverse the momentum of the militants within the next year the U.S. “risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said in a statement that he agrees with the call to revise strategy.
“General McChrystal is attempting to shift our focus toward adopting a revised strategy that will increase the prospects for success of our efforts in Afghanistan. Focusing on the resource question before we accomplish the strategic shift is a mistake General McChrystal is wisely avoiding,” he said. Levin seemed to ignore certain portions of the report that deal with the danger in “under-resourcing” — but he said that challenge should be addressed by expanding the size of the Afghan army and police.
The content of the report was first reported by The Washington Post, which said it withheld publication of portions of the document at the government’s request.
Morrell confirmed the report, but said the Pentagon would not release McChrystal’s assessment.
“While we would have much preferred none of this be made public at this time we appreciate the paper’s willingness to edit out those passages which would likely have endangered personnel and operations in Afghanistan,” Morrell said in an e-mail statement.
The Pentagon and the White House are awaiting a separate, more detailed request for additional troops and resources. Media reports Friday and Saturday said McChrystal has finished it but was told to pocket it, partly because of the charged politics surrounding the decision.
McChrystal’s senior spokesman, Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, told The Associated Press on Sunday the report is not complete.
Obama is re-evaluating whether the renewed focus on hunting Al Qaeda that he announced just months ago has become blurred and whether more forces will do any good.
“Are we doing the right thing?” he asked during one of a series of interviews broadcast Sunday. “Are we pursuing the right strategy?”
A spokesman for Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry said Sunday the Afghan government would not second-guess international military commanders on the need for more troops, but said that the greatest need is actually on the other side of the Afghan-Pakistan border.
“The focus should be on those points and areas where the insurgency is infiltrating Afghanistan,” he said, referring to the Pakistan border region where Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters hide and plan attacks.
In Congress, the war has taken on a highly partisan edge. Senate Republicans are demanding more forces to turn around a war that soon will enter its ninth year, while members of Obama’s own Democratic Party are trying to put on the brakes. Obama said in the Sunday interviews that he will not allow politics to govern his decision.
Nor has the president asked his top commander in Afghanistan to sit on a request for U.S. reinforcements in a backsliding war.
“No, no, no, no,” Obama responded when asked whether he or aides had directed McChrystal to temporarily withhold a request for additional U.S. forces and other resources.
But he gave no deadline for making a decision about whether to send more Americans into harm’s way.
“The only thing I’ve said to my folks is, ‘A, I want an unvarnished assessment, but, B, I don’t want to put the resource question before the strategy question,”‘ Obama said. “Because there is a natural inclination to say, ‘If I get more, then I can do more.”‘
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last week he expected McChrystal’s request for additional forces and other resources “in the very near future.”
The White House has remained vague about how long it would take to receive the report and act on it.
Obama spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union,” ABC’s “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.”"
Straight from the Debka File: “The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinjad’s excessive oratory, matched by the shuffle of Western delegations led by the US leaving the UN General Assembly chamber, have been a typical feature of every new UN General Assembly session in the last three years. This time, the Iranian president preceded his speech with press interviews in which he tried to sound more reasonable while refusing to answer questions on his denial of the Holocaust and Iran’s nuclear program.
But then, on the podium Wednesday, Sept. 23, he declared: “American power has reached the end of the road and is paralyzed. It is no longer possible to inject thousands of billions of dollars of unreal wealth into the world economy simply by printing worthless paper,” Ahmadinejad said, hinting at the ways in which the Obama administration is trying to solve the global economic crisis.
He went to say: “The engine of unbridled capitalism, with its unfair system of thought, has reached the end of the road and is unable to move,” he said, adding:
“The time has come for an end to those who define democracy and freedom and set standards while they themselves are the first who violate its fundamental principles. They can no longer be the judge and executioner.”
In a typical anti-Semitic diatribe, Ahmadinejad said: “Although they are a miniscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner.”
Appropriating President Barack Obama’s campaign slogan, “Yes, we can”, Ahmadinejad attempted to differentiate between US policy and President Obama’s approach, when he said: “Most people, including the people of the United States, are waiting for real and profound changes.”
The Iranian president accused the US and Israel of killing thousands of innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Referring to Israel directly, he said: “How can the crimes of the occupiers against defenseless women and children and destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools be supported unconditionally by certain governments and at the same time the oppressed men and women be subjected to the heaviest economic blockade, which denies their basic needs: food, water and medicine, and leads to genocide?”
Shortly before Ahmadinejad’s speech US President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met on the sidelines of the UN session. Medvedev then repeated the new Russian position, which states that in principle “Russia’s position is clear: Sanctions rarely lead to productive results, but in some cases sanctions are inevitable.”
President Obama said that Iran been “violating too many of its international commitments.” He committed himself to negotiating with Iran on the issue, but said serious sanctions were a possibility if Iran failed to respond seriously.”
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses the session later Thursday in a speech expected to focus on Iran.”
Straight from Fox News: “ACORN, in response to an undercover expose of potential wrongdoing by some employees, pledged Wednesday to follow through on plans to conduct a thorough internal review of its practices — on the same day that the organization filed a lawsuit against the filmmakers whose hidden-camera sting brought the community organization to its knees.
The lawsuit, filed in a Baltimore court, stems from an undercover video showing ACORN employees Shera Williams and Tonja Thompson providing advice to two filmmakers posing as a pimp and prostitute on how to skirt tax laws.
The filmmakers, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, are named as defendants in the lawsuit, along with Breitbart.com, a Web site managed by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, which posted the videos. Breitbart released five similar videos that O’Keefe and Giles recorded in ACORN offices in Washington, D.C.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; San Bernadino, Calif., and San Diego, as well as the Baltimore office.
The videos prompted the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to launch a criminal investigation, the U.S. Census Bureau to several ties with ACORN and ACORN to fire four of the employees shown in the videos. And on Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service announced it also was severing ties with the organization.
The IRS said it would no longer include ACORN in its volunteer tax assistance program. The program offered free tax advice to about 3 million low- and moderate-income tax filers this spring. ACORN provided help on about 25,000 returns, the IRS said.
Darrell Issa, R-Calif., issued a statement following the announcement, saying “ACORN’s failure to institute firewalls between its charitable and political activities have raised significant questions surrounding its management of federal dollars. Cutting ties is the first step, but cannot be the last one.”
“Self-investigation is not a sufficient substitute for action by the Congress, which is why I have written to the Chairman of the Oversight and Judiciary Committees to request that they convene immediate hearings into ACORN’s activities.”
But ACORN says no tax returns were actually prepared at the Baltimore office, and that the audio portion of the video recorded there was obtained illegally, since Maryland requires two-party consent for sound recordings. The multimillion-dollar lawsuit cites “extreme emotional distress” on behalf of two workers who were fired after the video was posted online.
The videos were “clear violations of Maryland law that were intended to inflict maximum damage to the reputation of ACORN, the nation’s largest grassroots organizer of low-income and minority Americans,” said ACORN attorney Arthur Schwartz. “Unfortunately they succeeded.”
At the same time, ACORN is moving forward with its pledge to review its operations. The Boston attorney hired by ACORN to conduct an independent probe of the group vowed a “no holds barred” investigation on Wednesday.
“My name is on the line and so is the name of my firm, so we will call this as we see them,” Scott Harshbarger told reporters on a conference call.
Harshbarger, the former attorney general of Massachusetts now serving as senior counsel at Proskauer Rose LLP, was hired Tuesday to lead an “independent and comprehensive” internal investigation into ACORN’s activities — a decision that was met with skepticism from some members of Congress, including one lawmaker who has repeatedly called for hearings into the use of taxpayer funds.
Harshbarger said the probe had not yet begun as of Wednesday and said there was no “specific timetable” for its completion.
ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, who joined Harshbarger on the conference call, said the organization was “very, very serious” about the review and vowed to “set things straight” following the release of five hidden-camera videos.
“We were just as shocked and horrified as the American public was,” Lewis told reporters of the conduct seen on the videotapes. “I will not tolerate such behavior. It is incumbent upon me and my board to set things straight.”
Lewis said ACORN officials are cooperating with law enforcement agencies, adding that no subpoenas had been received by the organization as of Wednesday.
Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and House Oversight and Issa called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether ACORN misused federal funds.
In a letter sent to GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro on Wednesday, Smith and Issa expressed concern that millions of taxpayer dollars may have been used to support criminal efforts by the organization.
“Congress cannot ignore allegations that federal funds are being used by an organization involved in criminal conduct,” the letter read. “American taxpayers are rightly outraged and Congress has a responsibility to act. We need a full investigation into ACORN’s use of federal funds and we need the Democratic-led Congress to put a bill on the President’s desk to ensure that no future funds are received by ACORN.”
The letter continued, “ACORN has a long history of ignoring federal laws. No organization with that kind of a record should benefit from American taxpayer dollars.”
ACORN said on Sept. 16 it would stop any “new intakes” — essentially closing its doors to new clients — until it completed an internal investigation prompted by the release of five hidden-camera videos that depicted workers advising a fake pimp and prostitute to lie to get loans for a brothel.
The scandal drew criticism from the Obama administration last week as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the conduct depicted on the four videos “completely unacceptable.”
“The administration takes the accountability very seriously,” Gibbs told reporters.
In addition to a Justice Department watchdog’s probe into whether ACORN has applied for or received DOJ grant money, ACORN announced on Monday that it has suspended all 2009 tax preparation services.”
Straight from Fox News: “Republicans succeeded in drawing overwhelming support from Democrats Thursday to eliminate federal funding to a now-scandalized ACORN, the community organizing group that has come under heavy fire in the wake of damaging undercover videos that purport to show counselors giving advice on tax fraud to a “pimp” and “prostitute.”
The House voted 345-75 to strike ACORN funding from a student aid bill with two voting present.
Later, the Senate voted 85-11 to eliminate ACORN funding from an Interior Department spending bill.
In the House, the Defund ACORN Act prohibits any “federal contract grant, cooperative agreement or any other form of agreement (including a memorandum of understanding” from being awarded to or entered into with the group. It also prohibits federal funds “in any other form” from being provided.
In the Senate, the Protect Taxpayers from ACORN Act blocks the group from receiving taxpayer dollars.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, suggested the House vote is essentially symbolic because the student aid bill did not actually provide any funding to ACORN.
However, the language refers to all federal contracts so it applies to any federal money.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who introduced the “motion to recommit” attached to the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, said the decision followed a similar Senate vote on Monday and the Census Bureau’s decision last week to cut ties to the group.
“The battle, however, to deny ACORN federal funding is not over until the president signs the bill into law. ACORN gave significant support to Democrats and Americans must remain vigilant to avoid backtracking or efforts to water down prohibitions denying Federal funds to this corrupt organization,” said
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., applauded the vote.
“ACORN has violated serious federal laws, and today, the House voted to ensure that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to fund this corrupt organization,” he said in a written statement. “All federal ties should be severed with ACORN, and the FBI should investigate its activity.
“This united Republican effort to defund ACORN is a victory for the rule of law and taxpayers across the country.”
But Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. called the ACORN measure, which he voted against “flatly unconstitutional” and said it “threatens any organization disliked by Congress.”
“Congress must not be in the business of punishing individual organizations or people without trial, and that’s what this Amendment does,” he said in a written statement. “Whatever one may think of the organization, the Constitution’s clear ban on Bills of Attainder is there for the protection of all of our liberties.”
Democrats offered overwhelming support to the ACORN measure because they didn’t want to derail the student aid bill, senior House sources told FOX News. And the measure still has to be approved by the Senate — a process that will be complicated by the differences in its bill that blocked federal funds to ACORN.
Miller said he allowed the ACORN measure to hit the floor despite its irrelevance to the student aid bill because he was “comfortable with giving members a vote on that issue and advance the legislation.”
He also said that whether or not ACORN would be defunded was “somewhat above my paygrade.”
Whether symbolic or not, the vote gives Republicans more momentum as they continue to keep the pressure on ACORN, which is on its heels. It also gave Republicans a move to force Democrats, who control the House, to vote on an issue that may leave some of them vulnerable in next year’s mid-term elections.
Republicans now have the firepower to run ads highlighting this vote, saying: “This lawmaker voted against defunding ACORN.” The 75 lawmakers who voted “no” and two who voted “present” were all Democrats.
But at least one Democrat who did vote to strip funding, Rep. Zack Space of Ohio, said he was “outraged” by a series of videos taken by two undercover filmmakers dressed up as a pimp and a prostitute in order to get advice at local ACORN establishments on how to set up a brothel in a way that allowed them to pay taxes and get federal grants for housing.
“I am outraged at the actions of ACORN’s employees and believe they should be penalized to the full extent of the law,” said Space. “Our government must be vigilant in ensuring that organizations that are found to act fraudulently do not receive taxpayer dollars.”"
Straight from Fox News: “Police say a worker with the activist group ACORN who was caught on video giving advice about human smuggling to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute had reported the incident to authorities.
National City police said Monday that Juan Carlos Vera contacted his cousin, a police detective, to get advice on what to with information on possible human smuggling.
Vera was secretly filmed on Aug. 18 as part of a young couple’s high-profile expose.
Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later. The detective consulted another police official who served on a federal human smuggling task force, who said he needed more details.
The ACORN employee responded several days later and explained that the information he received was not true and he had been duped.
Vera was fired on Thursday.
Meanwhile, an internal watchdog at the Justice Department said Monday he was reviewing the agency’s involvement with ACORN.
Conservatives have called for a criminal investigation of the group.
Inspector General Glenn Fine wrote Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, that his office would examine whether ACORN sought or received any Justice Department grant money, or conducted any reviews of ACORN’s use of such money.
More than a dozen state and local authorities are also scrutinizing ACORN, including Maryland’s attorney general.”
Straight from Fox News: “Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., launched a bipartisan effort Wednesday to require all legislation be made available on the Internet at least 72 hours before a vote on the House floor.
The measure would amend the Rules of the House of Representatives to mandate that all legislation and conference reports be posted in full and online in a format searchable by text, three days before a vote.
Exceptions would be made for classified material, which would continue to be handled under existing laws and rules. The resolution also would require a two-thirds majority vote to waive the 72-hour requirement for a national emergency.
On Wednesday, Walden filed a discharge petition, which requires 218 signatures to bring the legislation up for a vote on the House floor. The bill currently has 98 co-sponsors, including Democrats and Republicans.
Walden and Baird agree this is not about partisan politics. The goal is transparency.
“People always want to know, ‘Have you read these bills?’” Walden said. “Members of Congress, the public and the press all deserve the time to read these bills before we have to vote on them on the House floor. … It doesn’t guarantee good government, but it helps.”
According to Baird, this resolution is about common sense, fair play, and responsible government.
“Most members will benefit from this dramatic improvement,” Baird said.
Walden guaranteed House Republican leadership will support the resolution.
“The American people are angry that Speaker Pelosi didn’t allow the public and their elected representatives to read the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ bill or the national energy tax before they were rammed through the House. They have every right to be angry,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a written statement. (The stimulus bill passed by Congress totaled $787 billion.) “Congress can, and must, do better.”
The legislation was initially introduced by Baird in June. He has introduced it in each of the last three Congresses. Walden has also been a co-sponsor in the past.
Congressmen John Culberson (R-TX) and Walt Minnick (D-ID) are also helping lead the effort.
Culberson sees this as a step towards “real-time democracy.” He also plans to use online technology to solicit contributions from his contituents on the health care bill.
“The Internet is the greatest truth detector ever invented,” Culberson said. “Where you have transparency, you have trust.”"