THERE HAS BEEN quite a flap over Rep. William V. Alexander's enterprise in causing the hefty legislative history of the Boland Amendment to be exhumed by the Library of Congress and printed in full in the Congressional Record of this past Monday, June 15. The resulting volume, although it is quite portable and handy, contains over 400 pages of Bolandiana. It was estimated the other day to have cost the government $197,000 to produce -- an assertion that generated much talk of wantonness and profligacy on the part of the Arkansas Democrat, Mr. Alexander, who set the project in motion.
The $197,000 estimate is said by some to be high and likely to be recalculated downward. But even if the original figure holds, we think it's as wise an expenditure of funds on the Congressional Record as we've heard of in some time. The volume will be an invaluable source book in the angry debate over the genesis and development of U.S. Nicaragua policy, a debate that could surely profit from the introduction of more facts and better history. It will go to libraries and other institutions all over the country that subscribe to the Congressional Record and be available for purchase in individual copies for $1.25.
Those among us who look in on the Congressional Record on a daily basis will know that this will probably be among the most serious and public-business-oriented editions of the venerable journal they will ever see. The Congressional Record, into which legislators can put just about anything and frequently do, on some days resembles a literary version of the Islip garbage barge, an anthology of trivia, claptrap, and -- above all -- self-promoting, parochial drivel which does the legislator who inserts it some political good somewhere at public expense. If Monday's volume cost the taxpayers too much in the opinion of some of these legislators, they should have no trouble making up the funds by cutting down on the high proportion of junk with which they normally like to fill the Record's pages