Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act - Walberg Votes No

Not a lot of time tonight, but I thought I should mention this.

Today, the House passed HR 985, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 by a vote of 331-94.

Tim Walberg voted No. Of Walberg's fellow Republicans, 102 of them voted to support the bill, a majority of his party, 229 Democrats voted for it, with 3 not voting.

GovTrack describes the bill as:
Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 - Includes as a protected disclosure by a federal employee any lawful disclosure an employee or applicant reasonably believes is credible evidence of waste, abuse, gross mismanagement, or substantial and specific danger to public health or safety without restriction as to time, place, form, motive, context, or prior disclosure.
More details on the specifics of the bill are here, and the bill text is here.

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All our democrat reps voted for it. On the GOP side, it looks like Camp, Upton, Miller and Ehlers voted for the bill while Rogers, Hoekstra, Knollenberg and Walberg opposed it. Rep. McCotter did not vote.
Here is the text of an editorial today from the New York Times. It baffles me why anyone would support keeping us in the dark keeping corruption in government:

March 16, 2007
Relighting Snuffed Candles
The Bush administration’s mania for secrecy has been dealt an overdue blow by the House. Significant numbers of Republicans voted with Democrats to reverse the erosion of the public’s right to know how its government operates. A package of strong open-government measures would repair some of the damage inflicted in the past six years on laws governing taxpayers’ access to federal records and presidential archives, while bolstering the standing of whistle-blowers to report abuses in agencies without fear of retaliation.

Overwhelming majorities were registered for the measures despite the White House’s threat of a presidential veto. We say bring it on. The majorities were vetoproof in size, and an override confrontation is just the medicine the administration needs for the hubris it has shown in enshrouding all manner of information. The Senate should move quickly on companion sunshine measures. The bipartisan support that’s emerging is no doubt driven by the administration’s unalloyed dedication to secret machinations — whether in the Iraq war fiasco or the bare-knuckled purging of federal prosecutors.

The freedom of information law has been steadily undermined, to the point where agencies are blithely ducking their lawful responsibility and taking years to answer legitimate requests. The House voted to mandate initial answers within 20 days, and computerized tracking of pending requests. Another measure would effectively revoke President Bush’s 2001 executive order that allows former presidents and vice presidents to use their official libraries as mausoleums to bury controversial and historical documents indefinitely beyond public discovery. Who knows — if lawmakers stand firm against White House objections, historians may someday be able to plumb the full depths of the Bush-Cheney administration’s devotion to governance by murk.
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