Expensive Bills

They call it trimming the Christmas tree. As Congress scrambles to adjourn, a wave of special-interest bills and home-state boondoggles is gaveled into law without protest. "The only way sponsors can get them passed is to bulldoze them through and hope that no one notices," says Senator Howard Metzenbaum. "It happens every year." This year is no exception, despite the lawmakers' public hand-wringing about looming deficits.

But last week Ohio Democrat Metzenbaum drew attention to the practice by mounting a filibuster against the Christmas ornaments. In the process he has incurred the wrath...

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