DownsizeDC.org
October 11, 2007
Popular Persistence
By James Wilson
Today's Downsizer-Dispatch . . . So many bills in so little time. Last week, the Senate passed  14 bills amounting to 1482 pages. The House passed 15 bills totaling 50 pages. How does this happen?

Each member of Congress sits on a few committees, (where they are often susceptible to lobbyist influence.) Even if they develop some expertise in a few areas, they haven't read, and know very little about, most of the bills their party leaders ask them to pass. Many of these bills delegate more money and authority to the President and administrative agencies. The process has its own inertia, and government grows and grows. It doesn't matter what the people want, and the long-term consequences for the nation are rarely considered. This is why we need the Read the Bills Act.

But can we pass the Read the Bills Act?

We believe so, because it is clear the tide is turning in our country. The political culture is changing. Signs of popular discontent are rising all around us. Polls show record-low approval ratings for Congress, and near-record lows for the President.  A supposedly "fringe" Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, dominates the Internet and shocked the Establishment by raising $5.1 million over the past three months. His message of downsizing the federal government is resonating with more and more people. Agree or disagree with Paul, his success is a stinging rebuke to the status quo.

It is clear that people want change, and we can achieve it.

Although we were taught in school that we have a Constitutional system of checks and balances between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, the only check that matters is the people. History shows that direct action from the people does work. Direct action does lead to change. Popular resistance can undo any government program. For instance, popular resistance brought Prohibition to an end. The draft was ended during the Nixon Administration because of popular backlash, and hasn't returned for fear of the same.

But we are not  even asking for popular resistance. Instead, we are asking for popular persistence. Contact Congress. Tell Congress what must be done. Ask your friends to do the same, and to tell their friends. And then, do it all over again. And again. As the pressure mounts, Congress can not afford to ignore us. Indeed, they will begin to fear us. And so we ask you to tell your Representative and Senators to introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act.

We also ask you to spread the word. Click the "Tell a Friend" button on the campaign page.

And add your blog or website to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. Details are found here.

This week, we welcome four new members to the Coalition:

mccoolportraits
Dooglio.net
The Pro'se Plaintiffs & Litigants Association
NextRevolution

Finally, a list of the bills Congress passed last week is found at the bottom of the blog version of this Dispatch.

We invite you to visit our blog regularly and post your comments. Check it out here.

PROGRESS REPORT

Yesterday 7 people pledged at least 16 cents a day ($5 a month) toward launching our Operation Everywhere advertising campaign. Here are their names (as of before the close of business) . . .

David E Smith, Rob, Richard Church, Fran Fleming, Patricia Hughes, Patricia A Hampton, Ryan Carson (www.humblebee.com)

The following people also made one-time donations . . .

Benjamin Quatrano, Mel Pinney, David Thayer, Darryl W Perry

Also, our old friend Robert Brunner pledged $250 to be matched dollar-for-dollar by each new monthly pledge we receive. So start a monthly pledge and your first installment will be worth double to Downsize DC.

The goal is 1,000 pledgers, so now we need 993 more. Relentless progress will get the job done, so we plan to be relentless. Help us prepare to exploit the new political environment that will exist after the presidential primaries are over. Congressman Ron Paul has caused an explosion of public discussion about smaller government. This discussion must not end when the campaign ends, it must expand.

We plan to cause this exapnsion by buying ever-increasing amounts of Downsize DC advertising.

Start a monthly micro-pledge of at least 16 cents a day ($5 per month).

We'll publish your name here in the Dispatch (unless you choose not to be listed) and we'll send you a copy of "The Downsize DC Vision."

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. SENATE National Defense Authorization Act: By 92 yeas to 3 nays (Vote No. 359), Senate passed consideration of H.R. 1585, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2008 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, and to prescribe military personnel. 1183 pages. Intelligence Authorization Act: Committee on Intelligence was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 2082, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2008 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and the bill was then passed, after striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof, the text of S. 1538, Senate companion measure. 137 pages. Department Of Defense Appropriations Act: Senate passed H.R. 3222, making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, 115 pages. Procedural Fairness for September 11 Victims Act: Committee on the Judiciary was discharged from further consideration of S. 2106, to provide nationwide subpoena authority for actions brought under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, and the bill was then passed. 3 pages. Frank J. Guarini Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 2467, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 69 Montgomery Street in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the ``Frank J. Guarini Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page. Kenneth T. Whalum, Sr. Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 2587, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 555 South 3rd Street Lobby in Memphis, Tennessee, as the ``Kenneth T. Whalum, Sr. Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page. Eleanor McGovern Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 2654, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 202 South Dumont Avenue in Woonsocket, South Dakota, as the ``Eleanor McGovern Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page. Master Sergeant Sean Michael Thomas Post Office: Senate passed H.R. 2765, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 44 North Main Street in Hughesville, Pennsylvania, as the ``Master Sergeant Sean Michael Thomas Post Office'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page. Robert Merrill Postal Station: Senate passed H.R. 2778, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3 Quaker Ridge Road in New Rochelle, New York, as the ``Robert Merrill Postal Station'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page. Owen Lovejoy Princeton Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 2825, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 326 South Main Street in Princeton, Illinois, as the ``Owen Lovejoy Princeton Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page. John Herschel Glenn, Jr. Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 3052, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 954 Wheeling Avenue in Cambridge, Ohio, as the ``John Herschel Glenn, Jr. Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page. Staff Sergeant David L. Nord Post Office: Senate passed H.R. 3106, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 805 Main Street in Ferdinand, Indiana, as the ``Staff Sergeant David L. Nord Post Office'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page Ban Asbestos in America Act: Senate passed S. 742, to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing materials and products having asbestos-containing material. 32 pages. Vessel Hull Design Protection Amendments: Senate passed S. 1640, 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. 4 pages. HOUSE Recognizing the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida, as the official national museum of Navy SEALS and their predecessors: 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. 4 pages. Corporal Christopher E. Esckelson Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 2276, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 203 North Main Street in Vassar, Michigan, as the ``Corporal Christopher E. Esckelson Post Office Building'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 379 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 925. 1 page. Corporal Stephen R. Bixler Post Office Designation Act: H.R. 3325, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 235 Mountain Road in Suffield, Connecticut, as the ``Corporal Stephen R. Bixler Post Office'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 379 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 926. 1 page. Philip A. Baddour, Sr. Post Office Designation Act: H.R. 3382, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 200 North William Street in Goldsboro, North Carolina, as the ``Philip A. Baddour, Sr. Post Office''; 1 page. Laurence C. and Grace M. Jones Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 3233, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at Highway 49 South in Piney Woods, Mississippi, as the ``Laurence C. and Grace M. Jones Post Office Building''. 1 page. Awarding a congressional gold medal to Michael Ellis DeBakey, M.D.: S. 474, to award a congressional gold medal to Michael Ellis DeBakey, M.D.--clearing the measure for the President; 2 pages. International Emergency Economic Powers Enhancement Act: S. 1612, to amend the penalty provisions in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act--clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages. Providing compensation to relatives of United States citizens who were killed as a result of the bombings of United States Embassies in East Africa on August 7, 1998: H.R. 2828, amended, to provide compensation to relatives of United States citizens who were killed as a result of the bombings of United States Embassies in East Africa on August 7, 1998, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 409 yeas to 12 nays, Roll No. 930. 6 pages. Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007: H.R. 2003, amended, to encourage and facilitate the consolidation of peace and security, respect for human rights, democracy, and economic freedom in Ethiopia. 14 pages. Federal Protective Service Guard Contracting Reform Act of 2007: H.R. 3068, amended, to prohibit the award of contracts to provide guard services under the contract security guard program of the Federal Protective Service to a business concern that is owned, controlled, or operated by an individual who has been convicted of a felony. 2 pages. Requiring the President, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior military leaders, to develop and transmit to Congress a comprehensive strategy for the redeployment of United States Armed Forces in Iraq: H.R. 3087, amended, to require the President, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior military leaders, to develop and transmit to Congress a comprehensive strategy for the redeployment of United States Armed Forces in Iraq, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 377 yeas to 46 nays, Roll No. 927. 6 pages. Improving Government Accountability Act: The House passed H.R. 928, to amend the Inspector General Act of 1978 to enhance the independence of the Inspectors General and to create a Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, by a yea-and-nay vote of 404 yeas to 11 nays, Roll No. 937. 40 pages. MEJA Expansion and Enforcement Act of 2007: The House passed H.R. 2740, to require accountability for contractors and contract personnel under Federal contracts, by a recorded vote of 389 ayes to 30 noes, Roll No. 940. Consideration of the measure began on Wednesday, October 3rd. 12 pages. Regional Economic and Infrastructure Development Act of 2007: The House passed H.R. 3246, to amend title 40, United States Code, to provide a comprehensive regional approach to economic and infrastructure development in the most severely economically distressed regions in the Nation, by a yea-and-nay vote of 264 yeas to 154 nays, Roll No. 946. 48 pages. Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007: The House passed H.R. 3648, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude discharges of indebtedness on principal residences from gross income, by a recorded vote of 386 ayes to 27 noes, Roll No. 948. 10 pages
Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, RTBA
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