Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stunned the press today with the announcement that Senators will no longer be permitted to hammer out legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking to reporters in the hall outside his Senate office, McConnell said, “I have taken to heart the complaints of my colleagues and the public that health care and other important legislation has been drafted behind closed doors. Accordingly, I have today taken steps to eliminate this practice.”
When asked to elaborate, McConnell pointed to a sign above the hallway entrance to his office that read, “Inside.” He then ushered reporters into his office where a sign reading “Outside” had been installed above the same door.
“This is how I propose to eliminate meetings behind closed doors.”
In response to the bewildered looks of the press, McConnell continued,
“By designating what was the back of my office door as the front, any meetings held here when the door is closed will be ‘in front of closed doors.’ That, I believe, will solve the public perception that we are operating secretively.”
As the reporters filed out, one observed that the re-designation of door surfaces would not require Senators to do their negotiating and drafting under public scrutiny. Overhearing the comment, McConnell stepped into the hallway to respond.
“That’s the next step,” he said. “I believe with all my heart that once I have explained the new rules to my colleagues, and have shared with them why I felt it was critical to implement them immediately, they will choose to do the right thing. I have called a meeting for later today to do just that.”
Asked where and when the meeting would be held, McConnell replied,
“I’m genuinely sorry, but I feel I would be a hypocrite if I gave you that information behind closed doors.”