DownsizeDC.org
May 27, 2009
Should Congress read the bills or pass pointless resolutions?
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day:  "If I studied all my life, I couldn't think up half the number of funny things passed in one session of congress.” - Will Rogers

Subject: Should Congress read the bills or pass pointless resolutions?

In addition to bills that become law, the House and Senate also pass hundreds of resolutions each year. Many of them are statements of appreciation or recognition of people and events. They may seem harmless, but they waste Congress's time, time that could be spent reading bills that actually matter.

Moreover, these resolutions are often handled with comic incompetence . . .

  • On May 19, the House recognized "Women's Health Week," which had ended on May 16
  • On the same day, it also honored "Police Week," which likewise had ended the previous Saturday
  • On May 20, the House recognized "National Teacher Appreciation Week," which had ended on May 10
  • Four months after he announced his retirement, the House congratulated football coach Tony Dungy

The House also passed a resolution urging every American to visit national cemeteries, memorials, and markers on Memorial Day. They even bothered to call for a roll call vote, as if anyone would dare oppose it.

They also passed a resolution recognizing May 25 as National Missing Children's Day and urged us to "plan events in communities across America to raise public awareness about the issue." They again took the time for a roll call vote.

May 25, of course, was also Memorial Day. If Congress was at all sincere with either resolution, they would have seen the unfairness to both missing children and America's war dead by having them compete for attention on the same day.

By merging such special days together, and recognizing events well after the fact, Congress ends up trivializing what they are supposed to be honoring.

The House also held pointless time-consuming roll call votes recognizing at least four other anniversaries of various events. (My favorite celebrated the IEEE, without bothering to mention what the acronym stands for.) In any case, none of them needed Congressional recognition to establish their significance.

Meanwhile, over the past three weeks the House passed 25 bills totaling 1466 pages - bills that will actually impact our lives. Members of Congress claim they don't have time to read these bills.

We'll believe it when we see it. Rep. Paul Broun, for one, obviously has time on his hands. He wants to pass a resolution urging the President to declare 2010 the "Year of the Bible" and is busy looking for more co-sponsors.

The Bible's significance cannot be enhanced nor diminished by a Congressional resolution. We think Rep. Broun's time should be spent reading bills he supports, rather than working on resolutions that accomplish nothing.

And the same should apply to all Congress. Tell them to introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act.

In your personal comments, tell them . ..

  • That as the week of May 18-21 showed, many resolutions are mishandled and therefore trivialized.
  • You would rather Congress spend its time reading important legislation rather than writing and passing non-binding resolutions.
  • It is very important to the American people that Congress knows the contents of the meaningful legislation it passes.

Our goal this month is to pound Congress with more than 31,730 messages. That means we must hit Congress with 966 messages today. 

We also invite you add your website or blog to the Read the Bills Coalition. By becoming a member, you will help spread awareness of the Read the Bills Act, and in return your site will be listed on our main page and  mentioned in a Dispatch reaching over 25,000 subscribers. Details for joining are here.

This week we welcome two new members to the Coalition:

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army. To see how much we're growing please check out the Keeping Score after my signature.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org

P.S. The list of bills and number of pages of legislation Congress passed May 5-21 comes after the Keeping Score section below.

Keeping Score

Well, our growth resumed yesterday, if only by 1 net new member. That brings us to 1,025 net new members for the year, and the Downsize DC Army now stands at 25,374 -- 37% of the way to 26,000!

YOU can make the army grow even faster by following our quick and easy instructions for personalized recruiting.

We can also grow faster by doing more outreach to potential DC Downsizers. If you can start a monthly credit card pledge to expand our outreach please tell us on the secure contribution form if its okay to publish your name here . . .

NEW MONTHLY PLEDGERS IN MAY: Don Matesz, Silvy Berman, David Jones, Barbara Baxter, Nancy Kovar, Ryan Ackroyd, WM Michael O'Brien, John C Houghton, James Alan Speedie, THREE unlisted

Or, if you'd prefer to make a one-time donation, please let us know if its okay to publish your name here . . .

NEW ONE TIME DONORS IN MAY: Arlene Lindstrand, Dee Clary, Joan Garro, Jennifer Tarling, Richard Linchitz, Steven Palmer, Bruce N. Liddel, Ernest P. Eusea, Chris Reulman, David Anthony, Christopher T Wagner, Thomas Sartwelle, Jr, EIGHT unlisted

Bills Passed in Congress

 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 10 bills, 500 pages

Helping Families Save Their Homes Act: By 91 yeas to 5 nays (Vote No. 185), Senate passed S. 896, to prevent mortgage foreclosures and enhance mortgage credit availability, as amended, 190 pages

Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act: By a unanimous vote of 93 yeas (Vote No. 186), Senate passed S. 454, to improve the organization and procedures of the Department of Defense for the acquisition of major weapon systems, as amended, 70 pages

Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act:  By 90 yeas to 5 nays (Vote No. 194),
Senate passed H.R. 627, to amend the Truth in Lending Act to establish fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan, as amended, 33 pages

Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act:  Senate passed H.R. 131, to establish the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission, clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages

Women Airforce Service Pilots Congressional Gold Medal:  Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs was discharged from further consideration of S. 614, to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (''WASP''), and the bill was then passed, 4 pages:

Supplemental Appropriations Act:  By 86 yeas to 3 nays (Vote No. 202), Senate passed H.R. 2346, making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, as amended, 195 pages

Yvonne Ingram-Ephraim Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 663, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 12877 Broad Street in Sparta, Georgia, as the ``Yvonne Ingram-Ephraim Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 pages

Stan Lundine Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 918, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 300 East 3rd Street in Jamestown, New York, as the ``Stan Lundine Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 pages

Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office: Senate passed H.R. 1284, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 103 West Main Street in McLain, Mississippi, as the ``Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Brian K. Schramm Post Office Building: Senate passed H.R. 1595, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3245 Latta Road in Rochester, New York, as the ``Brian K. Schramm Post Office Building'', clearing the measure for the President. 1 page


HOUSE 25 bills, 1466 pages


Geraldine Ferraro Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 774, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 46-02 21st Street in Long Island City, New York, as the ``Geraldine Ferraro Post Office Building''; 1 page

Caroline O'Day Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 1397, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 41 Purdy Avenue in Rye, New York, as the ``Caroline O'Day Post Office Building''; 1 page

Elijah Pat Larkins Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 1271, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2351 West Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach, Florida, as the ``Elijah Pat Larkins Post Office Building''; 1 page

Enacting certain laws relating to public contracts as title 41, United States Code, ``Public Contracts'': H.R. 1107, to enact certain laws relating to public contracts as title 41, United States Code, ``Public Contracts'' 239 pages

Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009: S. 386, amended, to improve enforcement of mortgage fraud, securities fraud, financial institution fraud, and other frauds related to federal assistance and relief programs and for the recovery of funds lost to these frauds, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 367 yeas to 59 nays with 1 voting ``present'', Roll No. 235. 38 pages

Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act: The House passed H.R. 1728, to amend the Truth in Lending Act to reform consumer mortgage practices and provide accountability for such practices and to provide certain minimum standards for consumer mortgage loans, by a yea-and-nay vote of 300 yeas to 114 nays, Roll No. 242. Consideration of the measure began on Wednesday, May 6th. 218 pages

Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2009: H.R. 2020, amended, to amend the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 to authorize activities for support of networking and information technology research; 22 pages

Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2009: H.R. 23, amended, to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Merchant Mariner Equity Compensation Fund to provide benefits to certain individuals who served in the United States merchant marine (including the Army Transport Service and the Naval Transport Service) during World War II; 6 pages

Directing the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the use of Civil Air Patrol personnel and resources to support homeland security missions, and for other purposes: H.R. 1178, amended, to direct the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the use of Civil Air Patrol personnel and resources to support homeland security missions; 6 pages

Herbert A Littleton Postal Station Designation Act: H.R. 2162, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 123 11th Avenue South in Nampa, Idaho, as the ``Herbert A Littleton Postal Station'', by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 420 ayes with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 248; 1 page

21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act: The House passed H.R. 2187, to direct the Secretary of Education to make grants to State educational agencies for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public school facilities, by a recorded vote of 275 ayes to 155 noes, Roll No. 259. 34 pages

Granting the congressional gold medal, collectively, to the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, United States Army, in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II: H.R. 347, to grant the congressional gold medal, collectively, to the 100th Infantry D559Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, United States Army, in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 411 yeas with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 266; 8 pages

Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009: H.R. 1209, to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the Medal of Honor in 1861, America's highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States, to honor the American military men and women who have been recipients of the Medal of Honor, and to promote awareness of what the Medal of Honor represents and how ordinary Americans, through courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism, can challenge fate and change the course of history. 10 pages

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009: The House passed H.R. 2346, making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, by a yea-and-nay vote of 368 yeas to 60 nays, Roll No. 265. 76 pages

Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009: Agreed to the Senate amendment to the House amendments to S. 386, to improve enforcement of mortgage fraud, securities and commodities fraud, financial institution fraud, and other frauds related to Federal assistance and relief programs and for the recovery of funds lost to these frauds, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 338 yeas to 52 nays, Roll No. 268. 38 pages

Enhanced Oversight of State and Local Economic Recovery Act:  H.R. 2182, to amend the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to provide for enhanced State and local oversight of activities conducted pursuant to such Act; 6 pages

Amending chapter 21 of title 38, United States Code, to establish a grant program to encourage the development of new assistive technologies for specially adapted housing: H.R. 1170, amended, to amend chapter 21 of title 38, United States Code, to establish a grant program to encourage the development of new assistive technologies for specially adapted housing; 6 pages

Mandatory Veteran Specialist Training Act of 2009: H.R. 1088, to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for a one-year period for the training of new disabled veterans' outreach program specialists and local veterans' employment representatives by National Veterans' Employment and Training Services Institute; 4 pages

Veterans Employment Rights Realignment Act of 2009: H.R. 1089, amended, to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the enforcement through the Office of Special Counsel of the employment and unemployment rights of veterans and members of the Armed Forces employed by Federal executive agencies, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 423 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 270; 7 pages

Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009: S. 896, amended, to prevent mortgage foreclosures and enhance mortgage credit availability, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 367 yeas to 54 nays with 1 voting ``present'', Roll No. 271. 190 pages

Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009: The House agreed to the Senate amendment to H.R. 627, to amend the Truth in Lending Act to establish fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan. 52 pages

Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009:  The House passed H.R. 2352, to amend the Small Business Act, by a yea-and-nay vote of 406 yeas to 15 nays, Roll No. 281. 64 pages

Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009--Conference Report: The House agreed to the conference report to accompany S. 454, to improve the organization and procedures of the Department of Defense for the acquisition of major weapon systems, by a yea-and-nay vote of 411 yeas with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 286. 44 pages

Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009: H.R. 1676, amended, to prevent tobacco smuggling and to ensure the collection of all tobacco taxes, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 397 yeas to 11 nays, Roll No. 287. 70 pages

FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009: The House passed H.R. 915, to amend title 49, United States Code, to authorize appropriations for the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal years 2009 through 2012, to improve aviation safety and capacity, and to provide stable funding for the national aviation system, by a recorded vote of 277 ayes to 136 noes, Roll No. 291. 326 pages

 

Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, RTBA
Blog commenting is currently under construction. In the meantime, you can send an email if there's something you'd like to tell us.

What Can We Do For You?

We can help you downsize the federal government, if you want that. All you have to do is join. It's free! In return...

We'll give you an army.

We're recruiting a huge army of supporters to work for what you want.

We'll give you influence.

The Downsize DC Army will exert relentless, resistance-numbing pressure on Congress.

We'll make your voice heard.

We'll use our growing army to make your beliefs heard by everyone, everywhere, every day.

We'll give you winning strategies.

Ideas like our "Read the Bills Act" and the "One Subject at a Time Act" will give you the leverage to win the public debate, control Congress, and Downsize DC!

We'll give you powerful tools.

  • Your free membership includes a subscription to our free email newsletter, the Consent Chronicle, which national talk show host Jerry Hughes calls by far the best newsletter he receives.
  • You'll be able to use our Educate the Powerful SystemSM to pressure Congress. It's easy. All it takes is a few mouse clicks and keyboard strokes. You can do it in your bathrobe while you're drinking your morning coffee, or during a break at work.
  • You'll also gain access to our 16-page strategy document, "The Downsize DC Vision." You'll learn about important insights like "ignoring an axiom," and powerful strategies like "picking off the herd." One reader called this document "the unified field theory" of political change.

To gain these benefits, just enter your email address in the box below and hit Subscribe!

Subscribe to the Consent Chronicle
Enter your email address twice: