Day by Day cartoon

Monday, April 09, 2007

Downsize DC! I am down with this idea- big time!

“No LEGISLATION without representation.”
To this end we have created the “Read the Bills Act (RTBA).” RTBA requires that . . .

Each bill, and every amendment, must be read in its entirety before a quorum in both the House and Senate.

Every member of the House and Senate must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on.

Every old law coming up for renewal under the sunset provisions must also be read according to the same rules that apply to new bills.

Every bill to be voted on must be published on the Internet at least 7 days before a vote, and Congress must give public notice of the date when a vote will be held on that bill.

Passage of a bill that does not abide by these provisions will render the measure null and void, and establish grounds for the law to be challenged in court.

Congress cannot waive these requirements.
I love this idea and I'm going to find a way to put a permanent link on my front page later. The need for this bill was never more apparent than just a few weeks ago when the current snafu with the Justice Department surfaced and the changes made to the Homeland Security Act came to light regarding appointments. NPR repeatedly crowed about how the changes were "snuck" into the bill at the last minute and somehow no Dems were aware of the changes. This bill would eliminate that possibility of claiming "nobody told me" months after the fact.

I for one, would make bills streamlined into pass/fail, single issue items that addressed only directly related issues. There would be no farm subsidy attachments to military spending bills in my perfect world.

One more thing that Downsize DC ought to demand- for every new law passed, an old law must be removed from the books for a no-net gain of laws. There are plenty of obsolete laws that could be cleared out instead of just covered over with new ones.

Thanks to Synthstuff for pointing out this worthwhile grass roots effort.

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