While we weren’t looking, Alan Grayson’s quietly becoming in the House what Teddy Kennedy was in the Senate: An expert at creating or amending legislation in a way that advances the cause of good:
The Democratic congressman from Orlando had convinced the Republican-run [House Science] committee to adopt five of his amendments. One would bar “the federal government from awarding contracts to corporations convicted of fraud,” and another would force NASA to “consider American public-private partnership human space flight” before it partnered with foreign space programs. Each was getting him closer to an unheralded title: The congressman who’s passed more amendments than any of his 434 peers.
In the past, whenever any part the mainstream (read: Beltway) US press mentioned Grayson, it usually was to make fun of him as this nasty shouty (and thus ineffectual) liberal who had no clue how to operate in DC. But as the quoted part above of a Slate piece from last July shows, Grayson’s been a very effective member of Congress since his return to that body in 2012.
Here’s another example from that Slate article:
The new strategy is simple. Grayson and his staff scan the bills that come out of the majority. They scan amendments that passed in previous Congresses but died at some point along the way. They resurrect or mold bills that can appeal to the libertarian streak in the GOP, and Grayson lobbies his colleagues personally. That’s how he attached a ban on funding for “unmanned aerial vehicles,” i.e. drones, to the homeland security bill.
He’s used a similar strategy to push through amendments nibbling away at the NSA, among other things. And he still finds time to write pieces like this one, wherein he points to Greece as what the US will look like if the austerity mania isn’t stopped.
We could use more Alan Graysons.