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Demand lawmakers actually read bills before passing them! July 17, 2009

Posted by federalist in Government.
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As an early supporter of the Read the Bills Act (RTBA) I have been astonished in the past to hear lawmakers argue that they should not be held responsible for the bad effects of a law because they didn’t read it before they voted on it.  Such a confession should have them ejected from office on the spot for dereliction of duty.

But it has gotten so bad that federal congressmen openly admit in advance that they will not read a law before they vote for it!  Jeff Jacoby elaborates:

Congress frequently votes on huge and complex bills that few if any members of the House or Senate has read through. They couldn’t read them even if they wanted to, since it is not unusual for legislation to be put to a vote just hours after the text is made available to lawmakers. Congress passed the gigantic, $787 billion “stimulus’’ bill in February – the largest spending bill in history – after having had only 13 hours to master its 1,100 pages. A 300-page amendment was added to Waxman-Markey, the mammoth cap-and-trade energy bill, at 3 a.m. on the day the bill was to be voted on by the House. And that wasn’t the worst of it, as law professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University noted in National Review Online:

“When Waxman-Markey finally hit the floor, there was no actual bill. Not one single copy of the full legislation that would, hours later, be subject to a final vote was available to members of the House. The text made available to some members of Congress still had ‘placeholders’ – blank provisions to be filled in by subsequent language.’’

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Comments»

1. federalist - October 5, 2009

John Fund has an essay supporting the idea that Congress should at least make time so that it is theoretically possible for bills to be read before they are voted on: Congress Needs a 72-Hour Waiting Period.


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