DownsizeDC.org
January 12, 2010
Read the Bills Act: How you can make Congress work smarter
By James Wilson

Members of Congress say they don't have time to read the bills they pass, but my sample letter to Congress, below, shows otherwise. Please use what I wrote as guide to send your own letter to Congress asking them to pass DownsizeDC.org's Read the Bills Act: https://secure.downsizedc.org/etp/campaigns/27

Here it is . . .

Members of Congress often say they don't have time to read the bills you pass, but consider these facts . . .

* Over the past nine years an average of 215 bills became law per year, for a total of about 2,160 pages annually  http://www.gpoaccess.gov/plaws/browse.html
* A random survey of Congressional Record Daily Digests suggests that the average legislative day is long -- usually over nine hours
* The House was in session, on average, 133 days per year (the Senate's average is more difficult to find, but it's probably similar) http://thomas.loc.gov/home/ds/

* This means an average of 16 to 17 bill pages became law per session day.

The truth is that you could read three or four times that number of pages and still have plenty of time for debate, amendments, votes, and other business. Yet, few members of Congress ever read any bill that becomes law. This is just plain wrong. Consider . . .

* a lawyer who "doesn't have time" to read the fine print is doing something wrong
* an accountant who "doesn't have time" to look at the numbers is doing something wrong
* a legislature that "doesn't have time" to publicly read the bills is doing something wrong
* and I am responsible for everything you pass -- ignorance of the law is no excuse for me

The failure of Congress to read the bills isn't a problem of time, but rather of process and organization.

This is why I insist that you pass DownsizeDC.org's Read the Bills Act. You will still have plenty of time to pass necessary bills. And, RTBA will force Congress to organize better. It will force you to work smarter by identifying and eliminating time-wasting practices and procedures.

Only a public reading will guarantee that most members of Congress will know the contents of bills. The public reading also brings greater accountability. The number of secret deals and special interest favors Congress passes will fall dramatically, thereby serving the GENERAL welfare. The Read the Bills Act will not only help Congress function better, it will also help the American taxpayer. DO IT!

END LETTER

You can send your message using DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System.

We also invite you to join the Read the Bills Act Coalition. Membership will help build awareness about RTBA, and in return we will list your site on our main page. You can learn more at the DownsizeDC.org site.

Today we welcome two new members to the Coalition:

And please consider making a donation to further our work.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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