DownsizeDC.org
April 4, 2007
Congress, March 26-31
By James Wilson

Congress passed the following bills last week:

HOUSE

H.R. 753 - To redesignate the Federal building located at 167 North Main Street in Memphis, Tennessee, as the "Clifford Davis/Odell Horton Federal Building"

H.R. 1019 - To designate the United States customhouse building located at 31 Gonzalez Clemente Avenue in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, as the "Rafael Martinez Nadal United States Customhouse Building"

H.R. 1138 - 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"

Count one page for each of the above measures, or 3 pages total.

H.R. 802 - Maritime Pollution Prevention Act - 13 Pages

H.R. 1195 - To amend the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users to make technical corrections, and for other purposes - 86 pages

As of this writing, there is no summary at thomas.loc.gov for this bill. It’s hard to imagine any member of Congress reading or understanding it.

H.R. 1468 - Disadvantaged Business Disaster Eligibility Act - 3 pages

Extends by 18 months the eligibility of small businesses in the Katrina disaster area to receive federal help.

H.R. 137 - Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act - 4 pages

The bill says, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, buy, transport, or deliver in interstate or foreign commerce a knife, a gaff, or any other sharp instrument attached, or designed or intended to be attached, to the leg of a bird for use in an animal fighting venture.”

Imagine the conversation in prison: “What are you in for?” “Selling cockfighting paraphernalia.”

H.R. 580 - To amend chapter 35 of title 28, United States Code, to provide for a 120-day limit to the term of a United States attorney appointed on an interim basis by the Attorney General - 4 pages

This is similar to S. 214, passed the week before in the Senate, which I commented on in last week's post.

H.R. 1562 - Katrina Housing Tax Relief Act - 8 pages

This extends some housing tax credits for victims of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

H.R. 1132 - National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act - 4 pages

H.R. 477 - Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act - 13 pages

H.R. 727 - Trauma Care Systems Planning and Development Act - 10 pages

H.R. 1401- Rail and Public Transportation Security Act - 124 pages

Again, no summary for H.R. 1401 is available at the time of this writing. We see no reason for such legislation. As we’ve said before, private companies and local governments are better-equipped to address security issues than is the federal government.

H.R. 835 - Hawaiian Homeownership Opportunity Act - 5 pages

H.R. 1538 - Wounded Warrior Assistance Act - 60 pages

This is apparently Congress’s response to the reports on deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Hospital. Though lengthy, it appears that all provisions are “on-subject.” Fortunately, members of Congress didn’t dare play politics with this piece of legislation.

H.Con.Res. 99-Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2008 - 62 pages

In this, the House declares its intention to add $2.1 trillion dollars to the national debt over the next six fiscal years. Isn’t it time Congress got a pay cut?

S. 1002--Older Americans Reauthorization Technical Corrections Act - 4 pages

SENATE:

H.R.1591 - Emergency Supplemental Appropriations (for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007) – approx. 380 pages

The House passed a bill with this number the previous week, but the Senate really gave it an “extreme makeover,” even changing the name from “U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007” to “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations.” Instead of focusing just on Iraq and the War on Terror, this bill will fund many foreign, military, and domestic programs through September. There is some integrity to this, because the spending involved is plausibly a “single subject.” But Congress also attached the minimum wage hike to this bill as well, thus making it not a single subject by any stretch of the imagination.

This bill also allegedly states proposed dates for troops to withdraw from Iraq if certain conditions aren't met. But the word “withdraw” doesn't appear in any section pertaining to troops or Iraq, and the “sense of Congress” provisions were struck out of the Senate version. It may creep back into the final version, but we believe that before de-funding the war, we should de-authorize it.

S. 888 – Genocide Accountability Act - 1 page

Clarifies a previous law as to who is eligible for prosecution: American citizens and other U.S. residents.

H.R. 727 - Trauma Care Systems Planning and Development Act of 2007 - 10 pages

H.R. 1132 - National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act – 4 pages

S. 682 - Edward William Brooke III Congressional Gold Medal Act – 8 pages

It is that long because it includes a biography of the man.

S. 1002 - to amend the Older Americans Act of 1965 to reinstate certain provisions relating to the nutrition services incentives program – 4 pages

CONCLUSION

The House passed 17 bills totaling 403 pages. The Senate passed six bills, again totaling (approximately) 403 pages.

To those who claim we have a “do-nothing” Congress, are you happy now? How much more legislation will satisfy you?

It is time Congress stopped rubber stamping bills they don't read, and begin representing the people who, after all, are paying for all of this. The first step in bring back representative government is the Read the Bills Act.

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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