When Congress reconvenes next month, it will have an all-too-rare opportunity to strike a long-overdue blow for less hypocrisy and more candor in its own proceedings.

For that to happen, the lawmakers will have to get out of the habit of printing in the Congressional Record words that were never uttered in Congress and deleting remarks that some lawmakers later regret.That habit doesn't sit well with Rep. Robert Walker of Pennsylvania, who thinks the Congressional Record should be a verbatim account of the words spoken in Congress with no additions or deletions except for corrections of grammatical and typographical errors.

If the House Rules Committee does not go along next month with his proposed new rule, it will in effect be approving such travesties as:

- The one committed by Rep. Gus Savage of Illinois when he accused some of his colleagues of racism, then deleted the critical remarks when his impassioned speech on the House floor was printed in the Congressional Record.

- The tendency of many lawmakers to enter into the Congressional Record remarks they never made in or out of the House of Senate. In one particularly notorious episode, the House did not meet at all while the Senate convened for only seven seconds - just long enough to adjourn. Yet the Congressional Record for that day ran to 112 pages, at a cost to the taxpayers of $483 per page.

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Until this nation's lawmakers stop playing games with the Congressional Record and turn it into a verbatim account of what happens in the House and Senate, this publication will remain a sorry reflection of how the legislative branch regards the truth and the taxpayers' money.

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