This is a continuation of challenge no. 4. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.
I won't start this off with a bunch of jibber-jabber because trying to make politics interesting is like trying to make Dagmar look dangerous. So let's get on with my next two procedural reforms that will "help move Congress and the executive office back to being a government of the people and for the people" (challenge no. 4):
5. FISCAL REPORT TO CONGRESS: HEAR IT. READ IT. SIGN IT.
Perhaps the chief obstacle to fixing America's finances is that no one
agrees what's really on our balance sheet. When leaders in Washington
debate our budget, they routinely use different baselines, projections
and assumptions, which often conveniently support whatever policy they
are pushing at the moment. To quote an old Scottish writer, many
Washington leaders "use statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts - for
support rather than for illumination."
The American people deserve to know what's really happening with our
nation's finances, and we believe Congress should at least be able to
work off the same set of numbers. That's why every year, a nonpartisan
leader, such as the comptroller general, should deliver a televised
fiscal update in-person to a joint session of Congress. The president,
vice president, all cabinet members, senators and congressmen must
attend this fiscal update session and take individual responsibility for
the accuracy and completeness of the comptroller general's report by
signing the report, just as CEOs are required to affirm the accuracy of
their company's financial reporting.
6. QUESTION TIME FOR THE PRESIDENT
In January 2010, President Obama attended a House Republican retreat
to publicly debate the merits of the president's proposed healthcare
law. For a few hours at least, the American public got to see our
leaders engage and truly debate with one another.
We haven't seen
anything like it since. Today the president and members of Congress can
more often be found talking past one another through the media. The
issues facing our country are too important to be decided by a war of
partisan talking points. Let's get the ideas on the table, debate them
and let the American people decide.
We should take a cue from the British Parliament's regular questioning
of the prime minister to create question time for the president and
Congress. These meetings occasionally may be contentious, but at least
they force leaders to actually debate one another and defend their
ideas. Here's how it would work: on a rotating basis the House and
Senate would issue monthly invitations to the president to appear in the
respective chamber for questions and discussion. Each question period
would last for 90 minutes and would be televised. The majority and
minority would alternate questions. The president could, at his
discretion, bring one or more cabinet members to the question period and
refer specific questions to them.
Reforms #7 and #8 will make their debut next week. I know! You can't hardly stand to wait that long! My apologies. Here, have another puppy: