OUR POTEMKIN LEGISLATURE….Roll Call tells us about the latest shenanigans from the leaders of the modern Republican Party:

Shortly before midnight on Sunday, the leaders agreed ? after House and Senate negotiators had already signed the report and announced its details to the public ? to insert controversial language that protects vaccine manufacturers from product liability claims in the event of a viral pandemic, such as one caused by avian flu.

Observers familiar with the procedural history of conference reports said that they were unaware of any precedent for inserting language after conferees had signed off on the report. A review of several Congressional Research Service guides to conference proceedings make no reference to any prior example.

It’s not enough that Republicans have already corrupted the normal conference procedure beyond recognition, stacking conference committees solely with allies and routinely amending bills to make them almost unrecognizable. Now they’re adding language to conference reports after the report has already been signed off.

It’s our latest step toward a Potemkin legislature. I hope conservatives are proud.

UPDATE: More here on a different subject. Apparently Republicans, who have been delaying the Pentagon budget bill because they want to stuff it full of unrelated goodies, are now getting ready to adopt a “temporary” nuclear option that would allow them to add a provision for ANWR drilling and defeat a Democratic filibuster by a simple majority vote ? despite longstanding rules that clearly prevent this. But hey ? rules are for suckers, right?

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