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Speed Reader Brings Levity to 'Cap and Trade'

By David Fahrenthold
One sign that long days of debating may have gotten to the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee: they were briefly transfixed by a demonstration of speed-reading.

Democratic leaders have pledged to get a bill capping U.S. greenhouse gases out of committee before Memorial Day, but they were worried that Republicans might throw a parliamentary wrench in the works, and ask that the entire 900-plus-page bill be read aloud.

To be ready, the Democrats hired -- apparently, only temporarily -- a speed-reader onto the committee's clerk staff.

As it turned out, he wasn't needed: after days of seeing their amendments defeated, Republicans agreed Wednesday that they would not ask for the reading.

But Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), the ranking Republican, said he was curious. So, when he introduced a new amendment this afternoon, he requested that Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) have it read as a demonstration.

"The speed-reader clerk will read the bill," Waxman said, giving in.

"Now, I want him to read in a Texas accent," added Barton.

The speed-reader, who gave his name as "Douglas Wilder" (committee staff would not make him available for an interview), gamely started in a kind of speed-drawl. The room broke up.

"Let's have order!" Waxman said.

The speed-reader then read in a normal, but very fast, voice -- some people might have been reminded of an auctioneer, children of the 1980s and '90s would have thought of the MicroMachines Man. He had only reached the bill's table of contents when the applause started. Barton said that was enough.

Waxman then said that Wilder was available, if anyone needed to hire a speed-reader.

"This bill's created one job!" somebody in the room yelled.

By Paul Volpe  |  May 21, 2009; 3:47 PM ET
Categories:  Hearing Watch  
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Next: Today on the Hill


Levity? Really?!...

This is F*cked UP! And it pisses me off. Really, a speed reader? "one job"?

Wasting my money. Wasting my time. Get up and do some work ya' bums! A speed reader! Bunch of 6 years olds in the legislature!

Quit f'ing off and do some damn work.

Scott King

Posted by: kingcscott | May 21, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yup, what Scott said!

Bunch of losers.

And kill this bill. NOW!

Posted by: j9zig1 | May 21, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

This Cap and Trade Taxation Bill has got to be trashed. This will kill what is left of the babyboomers money we have left for retirement. We must vote everyone out - I'm sorry I'm just tired of paying for everyones pensions and them taxing the hell out of mine.

Posted by: crapss03231948 | May 22, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

to crapss03231948.,
Your comment that:"I'm just tired of paying for everyones pensions and them taxing the hell out of mine." really proves the point that the babyboomers are the ME generation!

Posted by: flyboss | May 22, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

You know a bill is too bloated when it takes a speed reader all day to read it.

Posted by: RobT1 | May 22, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

So the Washington Post thinks this is funny? This is disgusting. Henry Waxman just sent the American People a bird and you idiots in Washington think this is funny. I guess this is what you call audacity. you are out of touch with reality, right v wrong, name it.

Posted by: boboskiwatnot | May 23, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

seems that nutcases like flyboss are the only people who are too dense to grasp the stupidity of all this.any senator who votes for this crap and trade,another one of henry waxmans toilet training experiments should be impeached NOW.
i have been watching the stupidity of waxman for years,and know that the people of california deserve the screwed up state of affairs their state is in,because they keep sending loons like waxman,and piglosi back to washington.
the crap and trade is another of many ways obambi,and gore,general electric,and others are smuggling tax millions out of you,so why not wake up,stop drowning the country in kool aid,and say enough.

Posted by: silusdogood | May 25, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

by the way america,you just got a slap in the face. didnt you feel that? are we really too stupid to realize that we were just insulted? a speed reader,to read something for our congress to vote on? will senate be this bold to vote on another piece of crap? think things can get worse? just sit on your a--and see,but soon,they may become untouchable,these chicago,and california thugs.

Posted by: silusdogood | May 25, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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