DownsizeDC.org
May 1, 2007
Congress, April 23-28
By James Wilson
Congress passed the following bills last week: HOUSE H.R. 1434 - Rachel Carson Post Office Building - 1 page H.R. 1402 - Sergeant Dennis J. Flanagan Lecanto Post Office Building - 1 page H.R. 625 - Atanacio Haro-Marin Post Office Designation Act - 1 page S. 521 - Gerald W. Heaney Federal Building and United States Courthouse and Customhouse Designation Act - 1 page H.R. 362 - 10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act - 48 pages H.R. 363 - Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act - 20 pages H.R. 1678 - Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act - 4 pages H.R. 493 - Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act - 106 pages H.R. 1591 - Making emergency supplemental appropriations for fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes - 93 oages H.R. 249 - To restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. - 4 pages H.R. 1675 - Preservation Approval Process Improvement Act of 2007 - 4 pages H.R. 1676 - Native American Home Ownership Opportunity Act of 2007 - 4 pages H.R. 518 - International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act of 2007 - 12 pages H.R. 1332 - Small Business Lending Improvements Act of 2007 - 30 pages SENATE H.R. 1681 - American National Red Cross Governance Modernization Act - 22 pages S. 761 - America COMPETES Act - 294 pages H.R. 1591 - Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Conference Report (clearing the measure for the President to sign) - 93 pages CONCLUSION The House passed 14 bills containing 339 pages. The Senate passed three bills containing 409 pages. (If you suspect Congress didn't actually read these bills in full, tell them to pass the Read the Bills Act.) Let’s concede for the sake of argument that the H.R. 1591, the final appropriations bill - with or without troop withdrawal dates (I still can’t find them in the bill) - was to a degree “necessary” for the government to continue operating. Several other bills, however, were most unnecessary and counter-productive. H.R. 493 prohibits discrimination based on genetic information by the government, health insurance companies, and employers. Prohibiting government discrimination is laudable, but government has no right to tell private companies and individuals what to do. The length of the bill is evidence that it's dangerous. And Congressional efforts to improve science and American economic “competitiveness” have it backward. Many of America’s inventors and innovators were poor students, but they were able to accomplish great things free from government interference and without government “help.” (How much longer would the Wright Brothers have taken to fly their airplane if the government subsidized the project? They would have had an economic incentive to take their time.) For America to become economically competitive again, we don’t need government grants, more funding for schools, and subsidies. We need a tax and regulatory environment that will encourage American businesses to stay in America, attract foreign-owned businesses, and allow entrepreneurs and inventors free reign. DownsizeDC.org publishes this feature on weeks when Congress is in session. To see how your represenatives voted on particular bills, or to read the bills themselves, go here for the House and here for the Senate. You may also keep abreast of day-to-day activities in Congress by going to the Congressional Record Main Page and click for recent issues of the Daily Digest.
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