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WILL CONGRESS COME CLEAN?

A bill that garners near-unanimous support in the U.S. House of Representatives must have something going for it. It must be a measure most members would be embarrassed publicly to oppose.

Sure enough, the House lined up 406-6 the other day to require that emergency spending be spent on emergencies - not on museum repairs or train stations, as California earthquake funds were earlier this year.Oh, breath of fresh air! We feel positively light-headed, so unaccustomed is this common sense. And to think the same House recently chose with only four dissenting votes to extend to itself and its workers the full range of labor, safety and civil-rights laws it imposes on other employers! Can those be winds of reform wafting through the hallowed halls?

We're not making any bets. Experience warns of the meaningless vote, handy for home-district publicity but unlikely to translate into law - and actually inconvenience legislators - any time soon.