Thursday, July 2, 2009

Congress To Be Renamed After Corporate Sponsors

by Benjo

I've always been a proponent of spicing up the names of the houses of Congress. To that effect, I might have preferred something like the Tabasco Senate, or Dave's Insanity Senate. But this is a step in the right direction. An excerpt of the article:
Amid continuing financial woes, President Barack Obama signed into law the Congressional Nomenclature Amendment Act, which will provide corporate sponsorship for both houses of Congress.

In accordance with the new law, when Congress reconvenes on July 6 following their Independence Day recess, they will do so as the Verizon Senate and the International House of Representatives, or IHOR.

The bill, which will not directly plug spending holes in any government programs, but will instead provide $12.2 million to finance pay increases for members of Congress, passed the Senate last week by a 98-0 margin.

The move brought criticism from government watchdog groups, who worried about conflicts of interest. “Is a Senator going to be able to vote on a telecom bill that hurts Verizon?” asked Congress Watch spokesman Brian Levin. “We think not.”

Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona, a member of the Dunkin' Donuts Republican Party, disagreed. “Voters elected us in part because they know we have integrity. Why should the name of the building we're in change that?”

John Kerry, the USAir Junior Senator from Massachusetts, agreed with Franks. “Saying my legislation will be favorable to telecoms because I'm working in the Verizon Senate is like saying that Carlos Pena's home runs will be favorable to orange juice because he plays in Tropicana Field. It just doesn't make sense,” Senator Kerry said. “Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hold a hearing on airline subsidies.”

Already, some conflicts have arisen. The General Motors Corporation is said to be interested in sponsoring its main subsidiary, Government Motors, which the federal government took over and renamed earlier this year. If that and GM's proposed sponsorship of the Department of Motor Vehicles move forward, sources say that the latter will be renamed the General Motors Government Motors Department of Motor Vehicles.

The sponsoring companies saw the deal as a major boost for business. "We project this will lead to millions in additional annual revenues," said IHOP spokesman James Schwenker. Schwenker denied reports of remaining tension from an earlier version of the deal that fell through, saying, "Sure, in an ideal world, we would have liked them to take the name International House of Representative-cakes. But all in all, we are very happy with how things have ended up."

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