The senator's sneak

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On paper the federal legislative process looks simple: A bill is proposed, it is approved by a committee, then it is approved by either the full Senate or House of Representatives. Then it is approved by the other chamber, then it goes to a conference committee where differences are worked out. Then it goes to the president for approval -- and then it becomes a law of the land.

If it fails at any stage, it is discarded.

But in Washington, powerful and unscrupulous lawmakers have learned to subvert and manipulate the process by surreptitiously placing special-interest language into various, and sometimes unrelated, legislation.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama did just that by the way he inserted himself into the regional water-rights fight.

Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been trying for decades to work out a solution to their common water problems along the Chattahoochee and Tallapoosa river basins -- problems caused mainly by the massive growth of Atlanta and exacerbated by the prolonged drought.

At times this has degenerated into a slugfest reminiscent of the cattlemen/homesteaders water fights of the old West.

Lately the governors of the various states, with help from the White House, have looked as if they might come to some equitable agreement. To facilitate this, the U.S. Corps of Engineers began the two-year process of rewriting its operations manuals that spell out how the federally controlled flow is allocated. Georgia officials say this is necessary because the manuals are antiquated, and do not reflect Atlanta's growth. Eastern Alabamans, worried about their fair share, want an agreement spelled out before the manuals are updated.

Shelby has been trying to assure just that by proposing legislation barring the Corps from going ahead. Several early tries died, so using his clout on the Senate Appropriations Committee, he subverted the system by attaching an amendment to the massive $555 billion, year-end federal spending bill that recently was approved.

Outraged over the subterfuge, Georgia's Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson vowed a fix, but they will have to wait until the next year's spending bill. They say they knew about the amendment when it was first introduced, but assumed it would not make it through the legislative process.

Old fox Shelby must have been chuckling on his way back to Alabama for Christmas. He outsmarted his colleagues, but did little to help anyone or anything.

We're confident our Georgia senators won't let such a tactic weasel past them again on the tri-state water issue. Isakson and Chambliss realize how important this is -- and they certainly don't want to look all wet.

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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 01/05/08 - 07:43 am
0
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Isakson and Chambliss dropped

Isakson and Chambliss dropped the ball, and I doubt it was from incompetence. Deal making is part of the congressional system and as important as the water issue is to Atlanta, I'm sure some consideration is lined up to compensate the Georgia senators "missing" the budget amendment. It's Shelby's job to help his home state. The question is, what did he trade to get the amendment through without an objection.

LBenedict
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LBenedict 01/05/08 - 08:39 am
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Since these 3 states are east

Since these 3 states are east of the Mississippi River, we live under the reparian rights system. That said, Johnny and Saxby have been huge disappointments, that for me, concluded with their amnesty desires for those here ILLEGALLY. After that slap in the face and actually hearing Saxby defend his position this spring at Fatz Cafe, I realized what those 2 are all about. So Shelby's actions, albeit sneaky, were to help his constituents, which is more than can be said for the GA senatorial delegation. Johnny and Saxby should have stopped this especially since they KNEW it was discussed. BTW, I would like to know how much water is used and consumed by those here ILLEGALLY. Perhaps if something was done years ago, we would have more water...think about it, especially those who say ILLEGAL immigration is not a worthwhile issue.

Little Lamb
47284
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Little Lamb 01/05/08 - 11:21 am
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So Chambliss and Isakson

So Chambliss and Isakson "knew about the amendment when it was first introduced, but assumed it would not make it through the legislative process." What pitiful representation! It would have been better if they claimed they were completely ignorant of the amendment and were blindsided. Both statements indicated incompetence.

LBenedict
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LBenedict 01/05/08 - 12:53 pm
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You hit the nail on the head,

You hit the nail on the head, Lamb.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 01/05/08 - 01:27 pm
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RetiredArmy, are you really

RetiredArmy, are you really that confused about the goin's on in congress? Deal making and good ole boy agreements is what makes the beltway work. Don't act like it's only on one side of the isle. People will think you're totally uninformed.

LBenedict
2
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LBenedict 01/05/08 - 03:49 pm
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patricia: "...what makes the

patricia: "...what makes the beltway work." I thought that you of all people knew that the beltway does not work...not for us anyway.

jack
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jack 01/05/08 - 04:19 pm
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Retarded Army, seem you have

Retarded Army, seem you have a reading comprehension problem. PT stated they failed but perhaps also had a deal under the table. Wise up!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 01/05/08 - 05:11 pm
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True enough LBenedict. It

True enough LBenedict. It does work for the congressmen though.

pofwe
5
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pofwe 01/05/08 - 05:51 pm
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You're right 'tricia! The

You're right 'tricia! The name of the game is politiks.

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