There’s no question that the procedures under which Republican senators passed their tax bill in the wee hours of Saturday morning were irresponsible. It’s worth taking a quick look at what that means. That it was passed after midnight may be a fun symbolic fact, but it’s no big deal. That the bill distributed just hours before the final vote contained several new parts that were handwritten rather than typed out properly also may be an easy target, but it isn’t really a big deal. It’s not at all a bad thing that the bill was renegotiated after the committee stage, with the Senate majority leader working out details in private. That’s been how most major bills have reached the Senate floor for some time now. And I’m willing to defend in principle log-rolling deals that were made with Republican senators to retain their votes, such as Lisa Murkowski’s insistence on including a provision to allow drilling on currently off-limits lands. All of these things are basically legislating as usual, even if in this case they hint at other problems. I have mixed feelings about the lack of committee hearings on the specific bills that the House and Senate considered. Republicans have held hearings on the general topic of tax reform, this year and previously. And hearings can be fairly meaningless anyway. On the other hand, what eventually was developed wasn’t really tax reform, so it’s not clear how relevant the hearings they held really were. It’s also important for Congress to have some process for hearing from a wide range of interests and experts, and formal hearings are a good way to do it, even when they ignore the results. If anyone is complaining about actually reading the bill, that one would be silly as well. Members generally don’t read bills, and there’s no reason for them to do so. As far as the bill containing gimmicks to game the scoring process? That’s very serious mainly for those who care about federal budget deficits, and it’s pretty clear that the Republicans who supported this large tax cut didn’t care about its effect on the federal budget. Now the really bad. The strictly partisan drafting and passage of the bill was highly unusual. The obvious