DownsizeDC.org
October 2, 2009
Here's What We Want to Tell the Media
By Jim Babka

Subject: Our first press release to the national media

Your work has made "reading the bills" a national issue. You accomplished this with zero help from the media. Now Congress and other groups are piggy-backing on your work, attempting to steal both your steam and your thunder, pushing non-reforms like H. Res. 554. Do you . . .

* Want to stake a claim to the results of your work and the need for the real "Read the Bills Act?"
* Let the media know what the "real deal" is

If so, here's what we want to send to the national media early next week . . .

"Read the Bills Act" creators urge Congress to pass a "worthless" rule

The creator's of the Read the Bills Act, which inspired a movement, say that a proposed 72-hour rule, permitting the public to see legislation before Congress votes, is "worthless." But they want the rule, H.R. 554, passed anyway. Why?

"It will pave the way for our Read the Bills Act," declared Jim Babka, President of DownsizeDC.org.

DownsizeDC.org created its "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA) in 2005. Constituents have bombarded their representatives in Congress with a quarter-million letters supporting RTBA. Babka has also presented it to beltway groups.

"Public pressure and my presentations are what led the Republicans to pick-up 'reading the bills' as a talking point. But when the people witness how worthless their approach is, demands to pass our RTBA will increase."

The 72-hour rule makes cosmetic changes to House rules.

House members are supposed to receive readable copies of bills three days before a vote. The rule is rarely followed.

The rule changes that time requirement from 3 days to... 72 hours.

It also requires that the public gets the bill at the same time. Babka likes this real change, however...

"It's only a rule; not a law. So it can be waived in many instances, and doesn't apply in others. There's no enforcement mechanism to penalize Congress when they violate their rules. And three days isn't nearly enough time to read the monster-sized bills Congress routinely passes."

DownsizeDC.org's 'Read the Bills Act' can't be waived and requires Congress to...

* Read the entire bill out-loud before a quorum
* Post all bills on the Internet for seven days before voting

If ignorance of the law is no defense for citizens, such ignorance must not be permitted to Congress. That's why RTBA also provides citizens with a solid legal defense against laws passed in violation of these requirements. Babka concluded, 

"The 72-hour rule is insufficient to prevent Congress from doing too much, too fast, with too little understanding. But it moves in the right direction, and its inadequacy will show why we need the REAL Read the Bills Act."

H.R. 554 has 128 co-sponsors in the House. A discharge petition to force it to a vote has 181 of 218 signatures needed.

END OF RELEASE

Do you want the media to know about . . .

* Your role in making the "read the bills" idea into a national issue
* The defects of H. Res. 554
* The strength of the real "Read the Bills Act"

Public access websites such as Yahoo, AOL, and Lexis-Nexis will receive copies, but your contribution will determine how many individual members of the institutional news media will receive it . . .

* $250 will get it to the entire Beltway media, but . . .
* For just $750 more we can reach all of the media, all across the country, including in your area

Your contribution may determine which we're able to do. Stake your claim. You can contribute at the DownsizeDC.org secure contribution page.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc. 

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