DownsizeDC.org
November 8, 2007
No Small Difference
By James Wilson
Today's Downsizer-Dispatch . . . This week, the Senate began debate on H.R. 2419, the "Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007," which would "provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012." The bill passed the House in July, and was formally received in the Senate in September. In theory, Senators have plenty of time to read it.

But why would they bother? The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry has been working on its own farm bill, S. 2302, called "The Food and Energy Security Act." On Tuesday, Nov 6, the text of this bill was introduced for debate as an amendment/replacement of the House version.

Assuming the Senate passes its own version, both bills will go to conference committee, where a few members of the House and Senate will iron out differences in the two bills before offering a final version for both chambers to vote on.

None of this is unusual. It's how a bill becomes a law.

Just one thing: the House version is 860 pages long. If that sounds ridiculous, well,the Senate version is 1362 pages. That's a 502-page difference in length alone.

One major difference between the two bills is Section 10305, found only in the Senate version. In it, Congress recognizes and makes rules for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) for the first time. Section 10305 is vague at best, and NAIS is a dangerous and costly program. We urge you to tell Congress to remove Section 10305 from the Senate's farm bill, and to stop the Department of Agriculture from implementing or promoting the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

But NAIS is not the only problem; every difference between the two bills will affect you. Obscure provisions buried in the bill will determine how much the government spends and how much you are taxed. They will determine the prices on the store shelves and at the pump. That's why Congress should not be allowed to rubber-stamp such gigantic bills. And they wouldn't, if we had the Read the Bills Act.

We ask you to please tell Congress it has a duty to protect us as taxpayers and consumers. Tell them you don't appreciate mammoth legislation such as the Farm Bill. And tell them to introduce the Read the Bills Act.

The Read the Bills Act Coalition is another way to build support for the Read the Bills Act. To learn how your organization or website can join the coalition, go here.

This week we welcome two new members to the Coalition:

Positive Liberty

TruthRealm

Finally, as further evidence why we need the RTBA, last week the House passed 16 bills and 326 pages of legislation, and the Senate passed 9 bills amounting to 437 pages. A list of the bills is available at the end of the blog version of this Dispatch.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
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. HOUSE 16 bills, 326 pages Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act: H.R. 1473, amended, to amend the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to require child care providers to provide to parents information regarding whether such providers carry current liability insurance; 1 page Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act of 2007: H.R. 3224, amended, to amend the National Dam Safety Program Act to establish a program to provide grant assistance to States for the rehabilitation and repair of deficient dams, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 263 yeas to 102 nays, Roll No. 1010; 6 pages Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Recovery Facilitation Act of 2007: H.R. 3247, amended, to improve the provision of disaster assistance for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; 12 pages C. Clyde Atkins United States Courthouse Designation Act: H.R. 2671, to designate the United States courthouse located at 301 North Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida, as the ``C. Clyde Atkins United States Courthouse''; 1 page Theodore L. Newton, Jr. and George F. Azrak Border Patrol Station Designation Act: H.R. 2728, to designate the station of the United States Border Patrol located at 25762 Madison Avenue in Murrieta, California, as the ``Theodore L. Newton, Jr. and George F. Azrak Border Patrol Station''; 2 pages Requiring the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish an initiative to promote the research, development, and demonstration of miner tracking and communications systems and to promote the establishment of standards regarding underground communications to protect miners in the United States: H.R. 3877, amended, to require the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish an initiative to promote the research, development, and demonstration of miner tracking and communications systems and to promote the establishment of standards regarding underground communications to protect miners in the United States. 8 pages Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007: Concur in Senate amendment to H.R. 3678, amended, to amend the Internet Tax Freedom Act to extend the moratorium on certain taxes relating to the Internet and to electronic commerce, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 402 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 1014--clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages Small Business Contracting Program Improvements Act: The House passed H.R. 3867, to update and expand the procurement programs of the Small Business Administration, by a recorded vote of 334 ayes to 80 noes, Roll No. 1017. 27 pages CJ's Home Protection Act of 2007: H.R. 2787, amended, to amend the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 to require that weather radios be installed in all manufactured homes manufactured or sold in the United States; 6 pages Procedural Fairness for September 11 Victims Act of 2007: S. 2106, to provide nationwide subpoena authority for actions brought under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund of 2001--clearing the measure for the President; 2 pages Temporarily extending the programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965 and amending the definition of eligible not-for-profit holder: S. 2258, to temporarily extend the programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965 and to amend the definition of eligible not-for-profit holder--clearing the measure for the President; 7 pages Making permanent the authority of the United States Postal Service to issue a special postage stamp to support breast cancer research: H.R. 1236, amended, to make permanent the authority of the United States Postal Service to issue a special postage stamp to support breast cancer research; 2 pages Dennis P. Collins Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 3307, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 570 Broadway in Bayonne, New Jersey, as the ``Dennis P. Collins Post Office Building'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 414 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 1018; 1 page Michael W. Schragg Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 3446, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 202 East Michigan Avenue in Marshall, Michigan, as the ``Michael W. Schragg Post Office Building'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 415 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 1019; 1 page Trade and Globalization Act of 2007: The House passed H.R. 3920, to amend the Trade Act of 1974 to reauthorize trade adjustment assistance and to extend trade adjustment assistance to service workers and firms, by a yea-and-nay vote of 264 yeas to 157 nays, Roll No. 1025. 146 pages Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007: The House passed H.R. 2262, to modify the requirements applicable to locatable minerals on public domain lands, consistent with the principles of self-initiation of mining claims, by a yea-and-nay vote of 244 yeas to 166 nays, Roll No. 1033. 100 pages SENATE 9 bills, 437 pages Third Higher Education Extension Act: Senate passed S. 2258, to temporarily extend the programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965, to amend the definition of an eligible not-for-profit holder. 7 pages Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act: By 70 yeas to 22 nays (Vote No. 400), Senate passed S. 294, to reauthorize Amtrak. 118 pages Essential Air Service Subsidies Extension: Senate passed S. 2265, to extend the existing provisions regarding the eligibility for essential air service subsidies through fiscal year 2008. 2 pages Charlie Norwood Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center: Committee on Veterans' Affairs was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 1808, to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, as the ``Charlie Norwood Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center'', and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages The Andrew Larochelle God, Family, and Country Act: Senate passed S. 2198, to require the Architect of the Capitol to permit the acknowledgment of God on flag certificates. 2 pages Navy SEALs National Museum: Committee on Armed Services was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 2779, to recognize the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida, as the official national museum of Navy SEALs and their predecessors, and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act: By 64 yeas to 30 nays (Vote No. 403), Senate passed H.R. 3963, to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children's Health Insurance Program, after agreeing to the motion to proceed to its consideration, clearing the measure for the President. 294 pages Charles George Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center: Committee on Veterans' Affairs was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 2546, to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Asheville, North Carolina, as the ``Charles George Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center,'' and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages Dr. James Allen Veteran Vision Equity Act : Committee on Veterans Affairs was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 797, to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve compensation benefits for veterans in certain cases of impairment of vision involving both eyes, to provide for the use of the National Directory of New Hires for income verification purposes, to extend the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide an educational assistance allowance for qualifying work study activities, and to authorize the provision of bronze representations of the letter ``V'' for the graves of eligible individuals buried in private cemeteries in lieu of Government-provided headstones or markers, and the bill was then passed, after striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof, the text of S. 1163, Senate companion measure, after agreeing to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. 8 pages
Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, RTBA
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