DownsizeDC.org
October 27, 2008
Are you being represented?
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day:

"...the House of Representatives will, within a single century, consist of more than six hundred members."

-- Founding Father James Wilson, November 30, 1787

Subject: Are you being represented?

Look what's happened to representative government . . .

* There were 105 House seats in the 1790's -- one for every 39,000 citizens

* House seats were limited to 435 in 1912 -- one for every 215,000 citizens

* Today, House districts represent over 700,000 people

* House districts are now 18 times larger than they were in 1790

Many voting restrictions have been removed, but are we better represented now than in the 1790's? House districts are now so large that . . .

* Your vote is more likely to be miscounted than to bear much weight in an election

* Direct contact between Representatives and constituents is now extremely rare

* Election campaigns have become expensive mass-media efforts

* Incumbents are constantly re-elected because few can afford to challenge them

* Incumbents spend more time raising money from special interests, and less time representing YOU

These factors have helped create a Two Party Duopoly funded and controlled by special interests. We are reduced to only two unappealing choices on Election Day, and power has been drained away from state legislatures, which are closer (numerically and geographically) to the people.

Our government now represents only a tiny minority. Add up all the people . . .

* Who didn't vote (in many cases because they didn't like their choices), or . . .

* Who voted against the winner, or . . .

* Who voted for the winner only because he or she was the "lesser evil" . . .

. . . and it's safe to say that our present government has the consent of only a very few of the governed.

And yet, the growing size of House districts may not be the most significant loss of representation since the 1790's. After all, in those days most bills were read three full times before being passed. Today they are rarely read at all.

As we like to say "We hold this truth to be self-evident, that those in Congress who vote on legislation they have not read, have not represented their constituents. They have misrepresented them."

But it's important to recognize that there's one way we can be better represented than Americans were in the 1790s. Now we can send instructions to Congress at the speed of light. And if enough of us do that, for long enough, we could improve our representation in other ways too. For instance, we could compel Congress to pass Downsize DC's "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA).

Here's a specific example of why that's important . . .

In the week before they recessed on October 3, the House passed 40 bills totaling 535 pages, and the Senate passed 42 bills totalling 317 pages.

Little, if any, of this massive legislation was read by any member of the House or Senate. If you think that's wrong then please ask your elected Representatives to pass DownsizeDC.org's "Read the Bills Act." You can send your message here.

Please use your personal comments to . . .

* List the number of bills and pages of legislation that Congress passed in the week before October 3

* Object to the fact that members of Congress did not read this legislation before passing it

* Tell them you feel you are not being misrepresented

* Specifically, tell them that you are withdrawing your consent to be governed in such a manner

* Tell them the only remedy you will accept is the introduction of DownsizeDC.org's "Read the Bills Act"

Please also forward this message to others and Digg this message on our blog.

You can also spread the word by joining the Read the Bills Act Coalition. By joining, your blog or website will be linked to at DownsizeDC.org's main page, and will be mentioned in a Dispatch like this one reaching over 24,000 subscribers. To join, please write to rtbacoalition@downsizedc.org.

This week we welcome seven new members to the Coaltiion

Baby Steps

Ron Paul Is A Nut (And So Am I)

Baruch College Political Action Club

House of Roxx

American Creation

Red Dragon Audio

ryan susan ethan and lilly

A list of the bills passed in the week prior to October 3 can be found below my signature in the blog version of this Dispatch.

Thank you for being part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

James Wilson

Assistant to the President (not the Founding Father!)

DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

 

 

 

 

The following are the bills the House and Senate passed last week. 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 42 bills, 317 pages


Food, Conservation, and Energy Act: Senate passed H.R. 6849, to amend the commodity provisions of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to permit producers to aggregate base acres and reconstitute farms to avoid the prohibition on receiving direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, or average crop revenue election payments when the sum of the base acres of a farm is 10 acres or less, 10 pages

First Lieutenant Noah Harris Ellijay Post Office Building:  Senate passed H.R. 6847, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 801 Industrial Boulevard in Ellijay, Georgia, as the ``First Lieutenant Noah Harris Ellijay Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Lance Corporal Eric Paul Valdepenas Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 6874, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 156 Taunton Avenue in Seekonk, Massachusetts, as the ``Lance Corporal Eric Paul Valdepenas Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Jacob M. Lowell Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 6681, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 300 Vine Street in New Lenox, Illinois, as the ``Jacob M. Lowell Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Army SPC Daniel Agami Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 6338, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4233 West Hillsboro Boulevard in Coconut Creek, Florida, as the ``Army SPC Daniel Agami Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Mayor William `Bill' Sandberg Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 6229, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2523 7th Avenue East in North Saint Paul, Minnesota, as the ``Mayor William `Bill' Sandberg Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Kenneth Peter Zebrowski Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 6199, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 245 North Main Street in New City, New York, as the ``Kenneth Peter Zebrowski Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Murphy A. Tannehill Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 3511, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2150 East Hardtner Drive in Urania, Louisiana, as the ``Murphy A. Tannehill Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

English Language Training Programs:  Senate passed S. 3658, to require the accreditation of English language training programs. 4 pages

Michael A. Marzano Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic: Senate passed H.R. 1594, to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, as the Michael A. Marzano Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Coastal Barrier Resources System Clam Pass Unit FL-64P: Committee on Environment and Public Works was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 1714, to clarify the boundaries of Coastal Barrier Resources System Clam Pass Unit FL-64P, and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Code Talkers Recognition Act: Senate passed H.R. 4544, to require the issuance of medals to recognize the dedication and valor of Native American code talkers, clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages

Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act:  Senate passed H.R. 6045, to amend title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to extend the authorization of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program through fiscal year 2012, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

Federal Employees Receipt of Electronic Pay Stubs: Senate passed H.R. 6073, to provide that Federal employees receiving their pay by electronic funds transfer shall be given the option of receiving their pay stubs electronically, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

State and Local Prosecutors National Training Program: Committee on the Judiciary was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 6083, to authorize funding to conduct a national training program for State and local prosecutors, and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act: Senate passed H.R. 6353, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to address online pharmacies, clearing the measure for the President. 15 pages

GSA and Parcels of Real Property: Senate passed H.R. 6524, to authorize the Administrator of General Services to take certain actions with respect to parcels of real property located in Eastlake, Ohio, and Koochiching County, Minnesota, clearing the measure for the President. 5 pages

Vessel Hull Design Protection Amendments:  Senate passed H.R. 6531, to amend chapter 13 of title 17, United States Code (relating to the vessel hull design protection), to clarify the definitions of a hull and a deck, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

Sound Recordings By Webcasters: Senate passed H.R. 7084, 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

National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act: Senate passed S. 3197, to amend title 11, United States Code, to exempt for a limited period, from the application of the means-test presumption of abuse under chapter 7, qualifying members of reserve components of the Armed Forces and members of the National Guard who, after September 11, 2001, are called to active duty or to perform a homeland defense activity for not less than 90 days, after agreeing to the committee amendment. 3 pages

Child Safe Viewing Act: Senate passed S. 602, to develop the next generation of parental control technology. 5 pages

United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act: By 86 yeas to 13 nays (Vote No. 211), Senate passed H.R. 7081, to approve the United States-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, pursuant to the order of the Senate of Tuesday, September 30, 2008, the bill having achieved 60 affirmative votes,eration of parental control technology, 7 pages

Paul Wellstone Mental Health And Addiction Equity Act (Emergency Economic Stabilization Act): By 74 yeas to 25 nays (Vote No. 213), Senate passed H.R. 1424, to amend section 712 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, section 2705 of the Public Health Service Act, section 9812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment, pursuant to the order of the Senate of Tuesday, September 30, 2008, the bill having achieved 60 affirmative votes, 169 pages

Trafficking in Persons Accountability Act: Senate passed S. 1703, to prevent and reduce trafficking in persons, after agreeing to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute, 3 pages

Non-Foreign AREA Act: Senate passed S. 3013, to provide for retirement equity for Federal employees in nonforeign areas outside the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia, after agreeing to the committee amendments, which will be considered as original text for the purpose of further amendment, 22 pages

Military Voting Protection Act:  Committee on Rules and Administration was discharged from further consideration of S. 3073, to amend the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to improve procedures for the collection and delivery of absentee ballots of absent overseas uniformed services voters, and the bill was then passed, 12 pages

Transfer of Naval Vessels: Senate passed H.R. 7177, to authorize the transfer of naval vessels to certain foreign recipients, clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages

Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gift of Life Medal Act: Senate passed H.R. 7198, to establish the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gift of Life Medal for organ donors and the family of organ donors, clearing the measure for the President. 8 pages

Inmate Tax Fraud Prevention Act:  Senate passed H.R. 7082, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit the Secretary of the Treasury to disclose certain prisoner return information to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, clearing the measure for the President. 3 pages

Federal Election Commission: Committee on Rules and Administration was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 6296, to extend through 2013 the authority of the Federal Election Commission to impose civil money penalties on the basis of a schedule of penalties established and published by the Commission, and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Let Our Veterans Rest in Peace Act: Senate passed H.R. 3480, to direct the United States Sentencing Commission to assure appropriate punishment enhancements for those involved in receiving stolen property where that property consists of grave markers of veterans, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

United States Army Commemorative Coin Act: Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs was discharged from further consideration of S. 2579, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the United States Army in 1775, to honor the American soldier of both today and yesterday, in wartime and in peace, and to commemorate the traditions, history, and heritage of the United States Army and its role in American society, from the colonial period to today, and the bill was then passed. 10 pages

Juanita Millender-McDonald Highway: Senate passed H.R. 4131, to designate a portion of California State Route 91 located in Los Angeles County, California, as the ``Juanita Millender-McDonald Highway'', clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

Organ Transplant Authorization Act: Senate passed H.R. 6469, to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize increased Federal funding for the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 3 pages

Pickwick Post Office Building:  Senate passed H.R. 6197, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 7095 Highway 57 in Counce, Tennessee, as the ``Pickwick Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Gordon N. Chan Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 6558, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1750 Lundy Avenue in San Jose, California, as the ``Gordon N. Chan Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

CWO Richard R. Lee Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 6834, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4 South Main Street in Wallingford, Connecticut, as the ``CWO Richard R. Lee Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Staff Sergeant Nicholas Ray Carnes Post Office: Senate passed H.R. 6902, to designate the facility of D1227the United States Postal Service located at 513 6th Avenue in Dayton, Kentucky, as the ``Staff Sergeant Nicholas Ray Carnes Post Office'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Leo J. Ryan Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 6982, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 210 South Ellsworth Avenue in San Mateo, California, as the ``Leo J. Ryan Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Kenneth Peter Zebrowski Post Office Building: Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs was discharged from further consideration of S. 3625, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 245 North Main Street in New City, New York, as the ``Kenneth Peter Zebrowski Post Office Building'', and the bill was then passed. 1 page

Spencer Byrd Powers Jr. Post Office: Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs was discharged from further consideration of S. 3521, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 95 Dogwood Street in Cary, Mississippi, as the ``Spencer Byrd Powers Jr. Post Office'', and the bill was then passed. 1 page

Minnie Cox Post Office Building: Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 4010, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 100 West Percy Street in Indianola, Mississippi, as the ``Minnie Cox Post Office Building'', and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 1 pages

 

 

HOUSE 40 bills, 535 pages

Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008:  S. 3325, to enhance remedies for violations of intellectual property laws, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 381 yeas to 41 nays, Roll No. 664--clearing the measure for the President; 25 pages

Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act of 2008: Agreed to the Senate amendment to H.R. 6460, to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to provide for the remediation of sediment contamination in areas of concern, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 411 yeas to 9 nays, Roll No. 665--clearing the measure for the President; 4 pages

Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act: S. 2840, to establish a liaison with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to expedite naturalization applications filed by members of the Armed Forces and to establish a deadline for processing such applications, by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 416 ayes with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 668--clearing the measure for the President. 3 pages

Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008: S. 906, to prohibit the sale, distribution, transfer, and export of elemental mercury, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 393 yeas to 5 nays with 6 voting ``present'', Roll No. 669--clearing the measure for the President. 8 pages

Small Business Financing Improvements Act of 2008: H.R. 7175, to amend the Small Business Act to improve the section 7(a) lending program, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 374 yeas to 6 nays, Roll No. 675--clearing the measure for the President. 23 pages

John W. Warner Rapids Designation Act: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass S. 3550, to designate a portion of the Rappahannock River in the Commonwealth of Virginia as the ``John W. Warner Rapids''--clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

White Mountain Apache Tribe Rural Water System Loan Authorization Act: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass S. 3128, to direct the Secretary of the Interior to provide a loan to the White Mountain Apache Tribe for use in planning, engineering, and designing a certain water system project--clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians Land Transfer Act of 2008: The House agreed by unanimous consent to agree to the Senate amendments to H.R. 2963, to transfer certain land in Riverside County, California, and San Diego County, California, from the Bureau of Land Management to the United States to be held in trust for the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians--clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages

Albuquerque Indian School Act: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass S. 1193, as amended, to direct the Secretary of the Interior to take into trust 2 parcels of Federal land for the benefit of certain Indian Pueblos in the State of New Mexico. 6 pages

National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2008: The House agreed by unanimous consent to agree to the Senate amendment to H.R. 5618, to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act--clearing the measure for the President. 5 pages

Hydrographic Services Improvement Act Amendments of 2008: The House agreed by unanimous consent to pass S. 1582, to reauthorize and amend the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act--clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages

Authorizing the Secretary of Commerce to sell or exchange certain National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration property located in Norfolk, Virginia: The House agreed by unanimous consent to agree to the Senate amendment to H.R. 5350, to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to sell or exchange certain National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration property located in Norfolk, Virginia--clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

Amending Public Law 100-573 to extend the authorization of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Citizen Advisory Commission: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass, as amended, H.R. 7017, to amend Public Law 100-573 to extend the authorization of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Citizen Advisory Commission. 4 pages

FEMA Accountability Act of 2008: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass S. 2382, as amended, to require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to quickly and fairly address the abundance of surplus manufactured housing units stored by the Federal Government around the country at taxpayer expense. 10 pages

Broadband Data Improvement Act: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass S. 1492, as amended, to improve the quality of federal and state data regarding the availability and quality of broadband services and to promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all parts of the Nation. 10 pages

Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act of 2008: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass S. 1276, to facilitate the creation of methamphetamine precursor electronic logbook systems--clearing the measure for the President. 3 pages

Amending the commodity provisions of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008: The House agreed by unanimous consent to agree to the Senate amendment to H.R. 6849, to amend the commodity provisions of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to permit producers to aggregate base acres and reconstitute farms to avoid the prohibition on receiving direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, or average crop revenue election payments when the sum of the base acres of a farm is 10 acres or less--clearing the measure for the President. 5 pages

Personnel Reimbursement for Intelligence Cooperation and Enhancement of Homeland Security Act of 2008: The House agreed by unanimous consent to agree to the Senate amendment to H.R. 6098, to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to improve the financial assistance provided to State, local, and tribal governments for information sharing activities--clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

Amending section 3328 of title 5, United States Code, relating to Selective Service registration: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass H.R. 7216, to amend section 3328 of title 5, United States Code, relating to Selective Service registration. 6 pages

Federal Real Property Disposal Enhancement Act of 2008: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass H.R. 7217, to amend title 40, United States Code, to enhance authorities with regard to real property that has yet to be reported excess. 20 pages

Establishing the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gift of Life Medal for organ donors and the family of organ donors: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass H.R. 7198, to establish the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gift of Life Medal for organ donors and the family of organ donors. 3 pages

Extending the Andean Trade Preference Act: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass H.R. 7222, to extend the Andean Trade Preference Act. 15 pages

Juanita Millender-McDonald Highway Designation Act: H.R. 4131, to designate a portion of California State Route 91 located in Los Angeles County, California, as the ``Juanita Millender-McDonald Highway''; 2 pages

Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2008: H.R. 6600, amended, to amend title II of the Social Security Act to prohibit the inclusion of Social Security account numbers on Medicare cards; 8 pages

Providing that claims of the United States to certain documents relating to Franklin Delano Roosevelt shall be treated as waived and relinquished in certain circumstances: H.R. 6669, to provide that claims of the United States to certain documents relating to Franklin Delano Roosevelt shall be treated as waived and relinquished in certain circumstances; 4 pages

Air Carriage of International Mail Act: S. 3536, to amend section 5402 of title 39, United States Code and to modify the authority relating to United States Postal Service air transportation contracts--clearing the measure for the President; 11 pages

Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act of 2008: S. 3598, to amend titles 46 and 18, United States Code, with respect to the operation of submersible vessels and semi-submersible vessels without nationality--clearing the measure for the President; 13 pages

Extending the authority of the United States Supreme Court Police to protect court officials off the Supreme Court Grounds and change the title of the Administrative Assistant to the Chief Justice: S. 3296, to extend the authority of the United States Supreme Court Police to protect court officials off the Supreme Court Grounds and change the title of the Administrative Assistant to the Chief Justice--clearing the measure for the President; 2 page

Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2008: S. 2304, to amend title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide grants for the improved mental health treatment and services provided to offenders with mental illnesses--clearing the measure for the President. 4 page

Authorizing funding for the National Crime Victim Law Institute to provide support for victims of crime under Crime Victims Legal Assistance Programs as a part of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984:  S. 3641, to authorize funding for the National Crime Victim Law Institute to provide support for victims of crime under Crime Victims Legal Assistance Programs as a part of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 410 yeas to 2 nays, Roll No. 676. 1 page

Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2008: H.R. 7221, amended, to amend the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to reauthorize the Act, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 355 yeas to 61 nays, Roll No. 678. 106 pages

National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act of 2008:  S. 3197, to amend title 11, United States Code, to exempt for a limited period, from the application of the means-test presumption of abuse under chapter 7, qualifying members of reserve components of the Armed Forces and members of the National Guard who, after September 11, 2001, are called to active duty or to perform a homeland defense activity for not less than 90 days. 3 pages

Capitol Visitor Center Act of 2008: The House agreed by unanimous consent to agree to the Senate amendment to H.R. 5159, to establish the Office of the Capitol Visitor Center within the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, headed by the Chief Executive Officer for Visitor Services, to provide for the effective management and administration of the Capitol Visitor Center. 17 pages

National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act of 2008:  S. 3197, to amend title 11, United States Code, to exempt for a limited period, from the application of the means-test presumption of abuse under chapter 7, qualifying members of reserve components of the Armed Forces and members of the National Guard who, after September 11, 2001, are called to active duty or to perform a homeland defense activity for not less than 90 days, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 411 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 682. 3 pages

Organ Transplant Authorization Act of 2008: The House agreed by unanimous consent to the Senate amendment to H.R. 6469, to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize increased Federal funding for the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. 2 pages

Child Safe Viewing Act: The House agreed to discharge from commitee and pass S. 602, as amended, to develop the next generation of parental control technology. 5 pages

Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2008: H.R. 6867, amended, to provide for additional emergency unemployment compensation, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 368 yeas to 28 nays, Roll No. 683. 8 pages

United States Army Commemorative Coin Act of 2008: The House agreed to discharge from committee and pass H.R. 5714, as amended, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the United States Army in 1775, to honor the American soldier of both today and yesterday, in wartime and in peace, and to commemorate the traditions, history, and heritage of the United States Army and its role in American society, from the Colonial period to today. 10 pages

Extending the Andean Trade Preference Act: The House agreed by unanimous consent to the Senate amendment to H.R. 7222, to extend the Andean Trade Preference Act. 7 pages

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008: The House agreed to the Senate amendments to H.R. 1424, to amend section 712 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, section 2705 of the Public Health Service Act, section 9812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans, and to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment, by a yea-and-nay vote of 263 yeas to 171 nays, Roll No. 681. 169 pages
 

 

 

"...the House of Representatives will, within a single century, consist of more than six hundred members."

-- Founding Father James Wilson, November 30, 1787

Subject: Are you being represented?

Look what's happened to representative government . . .

* There were 105 House seats in the 1790's -- one for every 39,000 citizens

* House seats were limited to 435 in 1912 -- one for every 215,000 citizens

* Today, House districts represent over 700,000 people

* House districts are now 18 times larger than they were in 1790

Many voting restrictions have been removed, but are we better represented now than in the 1790's? House districts are now so large that . . .

* Your vote is more likely to be miscounted than to bear much weight in an election

* Direct contact between Representatives and constituents is now extremely rare

* Election campaigns have become expensive mass-media efforts

* Incumbents are constantly re-elected because few can afford to challenge them

* Incumbents spend more time raising money from special interests, and less time representing YOU

These factors have helped create a Two Party Duopoly funded and controlled by special interests. We are reduced to only two unappealing choices on Election Day, and power has been drained away from state legislatures, which are closer (numerically and geographically) to the people.

Our government now represents only a tiny minority. Add up all the people . . .

* Who didn't vote (in many cases because they didn't like their choices), or . . .

* Who voted against the winner, or . . .

* Who voted for the winner only because he or she was the "lesser evil" . . .

. . . and it's safe to say that our present government has the consent of only a very few of the governed.

And yet, the growing size of House districts may not be the most significant loss of representation since the 1790's. After all, in those days most bills were read three full times before being passed. Today they are rarely read at all.

As we like to say "We hold this truth to be self-evident, that those in Congress who vote on legislation they have not read, have not represented their constituents. They have misrepresented them."

But it's important to recognize that there's one way we can be better represented than Americans were in the 1790s. Now we can send instructions to Congress at the speed of light. And if enough of us do that, for long enough, we could improve our representation in other ways too. For instance, we could compel Congress to pass Downsize DC's "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA).

Here's a specific example of why that's important . . .

In the week before they recessed on October 3, the House passed 40 bills totaling 535 pages, and the Senate passed 42 bills totalling 317 pages.

Little, if any, of this massive legislation was read by any member of the House or Senate. If you think that's wrong then please ask your elected Representatives to pass DownsizeDC.org's "Read the Bills Act." You can send your message here.

Please use your personal comments to . . .

* List the number of bills and pages of legislation that Congress passed in the week before October 3

* Object to the fact that members of Congress did not read this legislation before passing it

* Tell them you feel you are not being misrepresented

* Specifically, tell them that you are withdrawing your consent to be governed in such a manner

* Tell them the only remedy you will accept is the introduction of DownsizeDC.org's "Read the Bills Act"

Please also forward this message to others and Digg this message on our blog.

You can also spread the word by joining the Read the Bills Act Coalition. By joining, your blog or website will be linked to at DownsizeDC.org's main page, and will be mentioned in a Dispatch like this one reaching over 24,000 subscribers. To join, please write to rtbacoalition@downsizedc.org.

This week we welcome seven new members to the Coaltiion

Baby Steps

Ron Paul Is A Nut (And So Am I)

Baruch College Political Action Club

House of Roxx

American Creation

Red Dragon Audio

ryan susan ethan and lilly

A list of the bills passed in the week prior to October 3 can be found below my signature in the blog version of this Dispatch.

Thank you for being part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

James Wilson

Assistant to the President (not the Founding Father!)

DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, RTBA
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