IN A TIMELY show of keen legislative analysis before the last congressional adjournment -- and best of all, with the requisite number of votes to make it stick -- the House of Representatives spotted and beat back a financially irresponsible sleeper provision stashed into an appropriations bill for the sake of Capital Centre owner Abe Pollin. The provision would have banned all sports events, concerts, circuses and rodeos from the new D.C. Convention Center. But killing it once isn't enough, because -- you guessed it -- this same mischievous and wasteful provision has crept back for another vote, possibly today, in the Senate.
The original poor excuse given for slipping this objectionable restriction into the appropriations bill was that Congress never intended to allow non-convention-related commercial acitivities in the center. But as the House members discovered, there is no such history in writing. Besides, if there were, there would be no need to repeat the restriction in this appropriations bill. So it is still an attempt to write legislative history in an appropriations bill--which should raise objections in the Senate as well.
As if that weren't enough, the provision is financially reckless. As noted during the last round, why commit Congress to a convention center in the nation's capital that is barred from booking events that might help to make it a financial success -- events that are booked in every other local facility like it in the country?
All senators who recognize the original congressional intent of encouraging a financially successful convention/entertainment center -- convenient to Capitol Hill, the region and groups from all over the country that already have booked visits here -- should see to it that this unfair restriction is eliminated from the appropriations bill that is before them.