DownsizeDC.org
June 30, 2009
A Matter of Honor
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: “Nobody can acquire honor by doing what is wrong” - Thomas Jefferson

Subject: A Matter of Honor

The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that Congress should read the bills they pass. Our mission is to tell them about DownsizeDC.org's Read the Bills Act (RTBA). If we overwhelm Congress with demands to pass RTBA, Congress will have no choice but to follow our orders.

Directly inspired by DownsizeDC.org, California businessman Jerrol LeBaron has the idea that his state legislators should also be required to read the bills. One advantage in California is he doesn't have to pressure the State Assembly and Senate -- he can go directly to the people. Through California's initiative-and-referendum process, LeBaron intends to put California's own version of a Read the Bills Act on the ballot for voters to pass. LeBaron has created Honor in Office to accomplish this.

It is gratifying to see DC Downsizer ideas spread through the country. Success in California will inspire movements in other states and hasten success at the federal level. As the name of the California group suggests, reading the bills really is a matter of honor. An elected legislator really has no other job but to understand what he or she is doing to the people. Otherwise, why have elected representatives at all?

Yet, over the past three weeks, the House and Senate combined to pass 50 bills totaling 2,904 pages. These bills were not read on the floor. They weren't read by members in their personal time. Most weren't even read in committee.

(To see the list of bills passed, see below my signature.)

Let's tell Congress that the RTBA movement isn't going away. Tell them it is actually spreading to the states. Tell them if they don't introduce and pass RTBA, their very honor is open to question. You can send your message using our easy-to-use Educate the Powerful System.

We urge you to help spread the word about RTBA by adding your website or blog to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. This is an effortless way to spread the word about RTBA, and in exchange your site will be listed on our blog and mentioned in a Dispatch like this. Details are here.

This week we welcome x new members of the Coalition:

DEADLINE: This is the last day of June, and you can still help the Downsize DC Army reach its targets.

Your new monthly pledge can be as low as $5, which is just 17 cents per day, but pledging more would allow us to do more. When you start your pledge on our secure contribution form, please let us know if we can advertise your support here:

NEW MONTHLY PLEDGERS IN JUNE: Timothy M. Dyer Jr, Kenny Harrill, Ryan Sharif, Katherine Durham, David C. Flathmann, Maggie Culver, Ginny Rober, Dwight E. Baker, David H. Abernathy, John Murphy, Jeremiah J Blanchard, SIX unlisted

Or, if you prefer a one time gift, please let us know on our secure contribution form if its okay to advertise your support here:

NEW ONE TIME DONORS IN JUNE: James Sherman, Lawrence Lappin, Malin Williams, Jeffrey Taylor, Jason Pace, Kraig Clark, Autumn Browne, Victoria Pate, Patricia Barnum, Dwight E Baker, Rick Slusher, Dr. R.S. Gillinson, Edward J Krieger, Jan Berridge, EIGHT unlisted

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org


P.S. This morning, DownsizeDC.org President, Jim Babka, did a talk radio interview in Knoxville, Tennessee, on the Hallerin Hilton Hill Morning show on News Talk 100 WNOX that was scheduled too late to publish in advance. However, there are podcasts available online TODAY (Tuesday) ONLY. Tomorrow, they'll be covered over by Wednesday's show. http://wnoxnewstalk.com/

Once you're at the website, click on "On Demand Podcasting," where you'll be taken to a page with the link "Hallerin Hilton Hill - Daily Playback." You can download by segment, and Jim Babka's time slot was during the 7 AM hour.

 

BILLS PASSED IN CONGRESS

 The following are the bills the House and Senate passed June 8-26. The bills were passed by voice vote except where indicated. Roll call votes for the House are found here, and for the Senate here. The descriptions of bills are essentially taken verbatim from the Congressional Record Daily Digest.

Page numbers of bills are based on the pdf display of the latest version from the Government Printing Office. 

 

SENATE: 13 bills, 412 pages

Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act: Senate passed S. 256, to enhance the ability to combat methamphetamine. 6 pages

Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act:  Senate passed S. 407, to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for an increase, effective December 1, 2009, in the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, to codify increases in the rates of such compensation that were effective as of December 1, 2008, after agreeing to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. 12 pages

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: By 79 yeas to 17 nays (Vote No. 207), Senate passed H.R. 1256, to protect the public health by providing the Food and Drug Administration with certain authority to regulate tobacco products, to amend title 5, United States Code, to make certain modifications in the Thrift Savings Plan, the Civil Service Retirement System, and the Federal Employees' Retirement System, as amended, clearing the measure for the President. 218 pages

Webcaster Settlement Act: Senate passed H.R. 2344, to amend section 114 of title 17, United States Code, to provide for agreements for the reproduction and performance of sound recordings by webcasters, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act: Senate passed H.R. 2675, to amend title II of the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 to extend the operation of such title for a 1-year period ending June 22, 2010, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse: Senate passed H.R. 813, to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 306 East Main Street in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the ``J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building: Senate passed H.R. 837, to designate the Federal building located at 799 United Nations Plaza in New York, New York, as the ``Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Photographic Records Relating to Treatment of Individuals: Senate passed S. 1285, to provide that certain photographic records relating to the treatment of any individual engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside the United States shall not be subject to disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act), to amend section 552(b)(3) of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act) to provide that statutory exemptions to disclosure requirements of that Act shall specifically cite to the provision of that Act authorizing exemptions, to ensure and open and deliberative process in Congress by providing for related legislative proposals to explicitly state such required citations. 5 pages

Supplemental Appropriations Act--Conference Report: By 91 yeas to 5 nays (Vote No. 210), Senate agreed to the conference report to accompany H.R. 2346, making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, clearing the measure for the President. 63 pages

Miami Dade College Land Conveyance Act: Committee on the Judiciary was discharged from further consideration of S. 814, to provide for the conveyance of a parcel of land held by the Bureau of Prisons of the Department of Justice in Miami Dade County, Florida, to facilitate the construction of a new educational facility that includes a secure parking area for the Bureau of Prisons, and the bill was then passed. 4 pages

Higher Education Act Technical Corrections: Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 1777, to make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act of 1965, and the bill was then passed, 62 pages

Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act: Senate passed S. 962, to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 to promote an enhanced strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, after agreeing to the committee amendments. 34 pages

Trademark Act of 1946: Senate passed S. 1358, to authorize the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force. 4 pages

HOUSE: 37 bills, 2, 492 pages

International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2009: H.R. 1736, amended, to provide for the establishment of a committee to identify and coordinate international science and technology cooperation that can strengthen the domestic science and technology enterprise and support United States foreign policy goals, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 341 yeas to 52 nays, Roll No. 311; 4 pages

STEM Education Coordination Act of 2009: H.R. 1709, amended, to establish a committee under the National Science and Technology Council with the responsibility to coordinate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education activities and programs of all Federal agencies, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 353 yeas to 39 nays, Roll No. 312; 5 pages

Improved Financial and Commodity Markets Oversight and Accountability Act: H.R. 885, amended, to elevate the Inspector General of certain Federal entities to an Inspector General appointed pursuant to section 3 of the Inspector General Act of 1978; 10 pages

Wounded Veteran Job Security Act: H.R. 466, amended, to amend title 38, United States Code, to prohibit discrimination and acts of reprisal against persons who receive treatment for illnesses, injuries, and disabilities incurred in or aggravated by service in the uniformed services. 8 pages

Witness Security and Protection Grant Program Act of 2009: H.R. 1741, amended, to require the Attorney General to make competitive grants to eligible State, tribal, and local prosecutors to establish and maintain certain protection and witness assistance programs, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 412 yeas to 11 nays, Roll No. 315; 5 pages

Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 Extension Act: H.R. 2675, to amend title II of the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 to extend the operation of such title for a 1-year period ending June 22, 2010; 4 pages

Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009: H.R. 2344, to amend section 114 of title 17, United States Code, to provide for agreements for the reproduction and performance of sound recordings by webcasters; 4 pages

Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act:  H.R. 2751, to accelerate motor fuel savings nationwide and provide incentives to registered owners of high polluting automobiles to replace such automobiles with new fuel efficient and less polluting automobiles, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 298 yeas to 119 nays with 2 voting ``present'', Roll No. 314; 22 pages

Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011: The House passed H.R. 2410, to authorize appropriations for the Department of State and the Peace Corps for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 and to modernize the Foreign Service, by a recorded vote of 235 ayes to 187 noes, Roll No. 328. 342 pages

Ralph Regula Federal Building and United States Courthouse Designation Act:  H.R. 1687, amended, to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at McKinley Avenue and Third Street, SW., Canton, Ohio, as the ``Ralph Regula Federal Building and United States Courthouse'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 416 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 330. 4 pages

Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2009: The House passed H.R. 1886, to authorize democratic, economic, and social development assistance for Pakistan and to authorize security assistance for Pakistan, by a recorded vote of 234 ayes to 185 noes, Roll No. 333. 58 pages

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: The House agreed to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1256, to protect the public health by providing the Food and Drug Administration with certain authority to regulate tobacco products, to amend title 5, United States Code, to make certain modifications in the Thrift Savings Plan, the Civil D689Service Retirement System, and the Federal Employees' Retirement System, by a yea-and-nay vote of 307 yeas to 97 nays, Roll No. 335. 218 pages

Providing additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction: S. 615, to provide additional personnel authorities for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction; 3 pages

Laredo Veterans Post Office Designation Act: H.R. 2325, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1300 Matamoros Street in Laredo, Texas, as the ``Laredo Veterans Post Office'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 374 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 337; 1 page

Kyle G. West Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 2422, amended, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 702 East University Avenue in Georgetown, Texas, as the ``Kyle G. West Post Office Building''; 1 page

Phylicia's Law: H.R. 729, amended, to help keep students safe on school-run, overnight, off-premises field trips, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 319 yeas to 60 nays, Roll No. 338; 4 pages

Amending title 28, United States Code, to prohibit recognition and enforcement of foreign defamation judgments and certain foreign judgments against the providers of interactive computer services: H.R. 2765, amended, to amend title 28, United States Code, to prohibit recognition and enforcement of foreign defamation judgments and certain foreign judgments against the providers of interactive computer services; 6 pages

Court Security Enhancement Act of 2009: H.R. 2661, amended, to amend title 18, United States Code, to increase the penalty for violations of section 119 (relating to protection of individuals performing certain official duties); 4 pages

National Consumer Cooperative Bank Act Amendments of 2009: H.R. 1674, to amend the National Consumer Cooperative Bank Act to allow for the treatment of the nonprofit corporation affiliate of the Bank as a community development financial institution for purposes of the Community Development Banking and Financial Institutions Act of 1994; 3 pages

Homes for Heroes Act of 2009: H.R. 403, to provide housing assistance for very low-income veterans, by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 417 yeas to 2 nays, Roll No. 344; 50 pages

Awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (``WASP''): S. 614, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (``WASP'') 4 pages

Lieutenant Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Building Designation Act:  H.R. 2470, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 19190 Cochran Boulevard FRNT in Port Charlotte, Florida, as the ``Lieutenant Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Building'', by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 417 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 340; 1 page

Student Internet Safety Act of 2009: H.R. 780, amended, to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to promote the safe use of the Internet by students, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 416 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 341; 2 pages

Congressional Review Act Improvement Act: H.R. 2247, amended, to amend title 5, United States Code, to make technical amendments to certain provisions of title 5, United States Code, enacted by the Congressional Review Act, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 414 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 343. 4 pages

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009--Conference Report: The House agreed to the conference report to accompany H.R. 2346, making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, by a yea-and-nay vote of 226 yeas to 202 nays, Roll No. 348. 63 pages

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010: The House passed H.R. 2847, making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 259 yeas to 157 nays, Roll No. 408. Consideration of the measure began on Tuesday, June 16th. 104 pages

Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2010: The House passed H.R. 2918, making appropriations for the Legislative Branch for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 232 yeas to 178 nays, Roll No. 413. 37 pages

Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009: S. 407, to amend title 38, D748United States Code, to provide for an increase, effective December 1, 2009, in the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans and to codify increases in the rates of such compensation that were effective as of December 1, 2008, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 403 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 419; 12 pages

Directing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to include on the Internet website of the Department of Veterans Affairs a list of organizations that provide scholarships to veterans and their survivors: H.R. 1172, amended, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to include on the Internet website of the Department of Veterans Affairs a list of organizations that provide scholarships to veterans and their survivors, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 411 yeas with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 422; 3 pages

Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009: H.R. 1016, amended, to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide advance appropriations authority for certain medical care accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs, by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 409 ayes to 1 no, Roll No. 420; 10 pages

Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act: H.R. 1211, amended, to amend title 38, United States Code, to expand and improve health care services available to women veterans, especially those serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, from the Department of Veterans Affairs, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 408 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 421; 18 pages

Making technical corrections to the Higher Education Act of 1965: Agreed to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1777, to make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act of 1965, by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 411 ayes with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 423. 62 pages

Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act of 2009: H.R. 2990, to provide special pays and allowances to certain members of the Armed Forces and to expand concurrent receipt of military retirement and VA disability benefits to disabled military retirees, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 404 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 433. 56 page

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010: The House passed H.R. 2892, making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 389 yeas to 37 nays, Roll No. 450. 96 pages

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010: The House passed H.R. 2647, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2010 for military activities of the Department of Defense and to prescribe military personnel strengths for fiscal year 2010, by a recorded vote of 389 ayes to 22 noes with 1 voting ``present'', Roll No. 460. 650 pages

Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010: The House passed H.R. 2996, making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 254 yeas to 173 nays, Roll No. 475. Consideration of the measure began on Thursday, June 25th. 122 pages

American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009: The House passed H.R. 2454, to create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy, by a recorded vote of 219 ayes to 212 noes, Roll No. 477. 1092 pages

Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, RTBA
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