Waxman’s speed-reading clerk — hired to thwart GOP stalling tactics — gets 2 minutes of fame

Anybody watching the tedious markup of the Waxman-Markey clean energy and climate bill, saw a rare moment of bipartisan levity:

[Note:  If a typical flash-in-the-pan gets 15 minutes of fame, it’s only right that a speed reader get two minutes of fame.]

TPM explains why Waxman had a speed reader on hand in the first place:

Earlier today, we reported that Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have taken an extraordinary measure to combat nefarious Republican stall tactics. Faced with the possibility that the GOP minority might require the committee’s clerks to read aloud the 900-page Waxman-Markey climate change bill, or many of its 400-plus proposed amendments, the committee’s chairman, Henry Waxman (D-CA), hired a speed reader. An quick tongued, acting-clerk, if you will.

His services may ultimately not be necessary, but earlier today, to break the tension between battling factions, the committee’s ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX) asked the “speed reader clerk” to read part of one measly little amendment.

How long would it have taken for him to read the entire bill?  For the record, the WSJ reports:

“Judging by the size of the amendments, I can read a page about every 34 seconds,” said the newly hired “staff assistant” who declined to give his name. Based on that count, it would take around nine hours to read the entire bill.

5 Responses to Waxman’s speed-reading clerk — hired to thwart GOP stalling tactics — gets 2 minutes of fame

  1. HighTest says:

    Re Speed reader. I don’t expect to laugh out loud for 2 minutes reading an energy blog, even yours, Joe. I’m still grinning. What a terrific tactic.
    Thank you. Delicious.

  2. Al Sigman says:

    A couple of mistakes in your reporting: “An quick tongued, acting-clerk, if you will.”

    I do believe that the word “An” is incorrect. Should be “A”.

    Also, if Waxman (D) is the chairman of the committee, how can Joe Barton (R) be the ranking member of the committee?

    Seems you have a difficult time in getting your facts together. But after all, this whole thing is a big joke (but not funny) if you consider the fact that the Congress is supposed to work for the citizens who elected them and not try to be comedians, too.

    This whole episode is just a sham perpertrated by a bunch of children in grown up suits. I’m letting my congressman know that this is not my idea of how he should be earning his salary and why many of his peers should be thinking of packing their bags for a permament stay at home after the next election.

    Mesa, AZ

  3. Katherine says:

    Al, actually there is both a chair and a ranking member of committees. The ranking member is typically, though not always, the most senior member of the party not in power.

    I think a speed reader is a great way to legislation moving without sacrificing knowing what is actually in it.

  4. Don says:

    Consumers are often scolded by their attorneys for not carefully reading through the various legal agreements they have signed. Since most members of Congress are attorneys, does it make any sense that they should be allowed to vote on bills they have never read? How many of them would render a legal opinion for a prospective client related to a document they have not carefully scrutinized?

    [JR: Then here’s some great news: The public will have months to study this bill, see all the changes the Senate makes for its version, and if that passes, both houses get ANOTHER vote on whatever comes out of conference, with more opportunity for scrutiny!]