DownsizeDC.org
July 21, 2009
The Dirty Little Secret
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "Yesterday Democrats in the House introduced a 1,000-page national health-care plan. To make sure at least some people read it, they named it 'Harry Potter and the Half-Pound Proposal.'" - Conan O'Brien

Subject: The Dirty Little Secret

During the Presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised he'd do something Congress wouldn't, post bills on the Internet for five days after passage before signing them into law. Yet he has failed to do this for any bill, and now has formally changed abandoned his promise.

It's easy to see why. Consider the AIG bonus provision in the stimulus bill. Had Obama waited five days to sign the bill the bonus provision would likely have been exposed sooner, and Obama would have been pressured to send the bill back to Congress. But it was the Obama Administration that wanted the provision in the first place!

If the Read the Bills Act (RTBA) had been in force, however, Obama's broken promise would be irrelevant. Under RTBA, all bills would be posted in their final form for seven days before Congress votes on their passage.

Some may say that Obama didn't personally know about the AIG bonus provision, but that's not the point. The point is, Obama's a party leader and political parties exist in order to raise money for themselves and grant favors to those who help elect them to power. Obama may not have known about the AIG swindle, but he appointed the people who pressured the Democratic Congress to pass it.

More than lobbyists, the most corrupting influence on Congress is the President of the United States. This is the dirty little secret of American politics. Most provisions of bills that increase the size, scope, and power of government aren't written by a lobbyist, or an ideologue in Congress, but rather by the Administration. This is how it works regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat is in the White House.

Congress is now considering whether the federal government should take total control of your health care. Most of the legislation they're considering wasn't written by them, but by the Obama Administration.

Is it so unreasonable to tell Congress to at least know what it is they're passing?

The 1,017-page health care bill (H.R. 3200) was introduced on July 14 and already two committees have approved it. It's hard to believe that any staff member of these committees read the bill in full, let alone any member of the committee. It will be harder to believe that any other member of Congress will have time to read it before it comes to a vote.

This health-care "reform" is not from the people, it's from the Obama Administration. The least we can do is ask the representatives of the people in Congress to actually read the bill. Even better, however, would be to demand that they introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act.

In your personal comments, tell Congress that just because Obama's Administration may want something included in the health care bill doesn't mean the people want it. Tell them that if they vote for it, they will be held personally responsible for every word and provision of the bill.

And tell them that if they don't want to have to consider 1000 + pages of legislation, that they should introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act.

To exceed the 43,290 messages Downsizers sent to Congress last month we must send 1,258 messages today.

To illustrate the irresponsibility of Congress, in the last two weeks the House and Senate combined to pass 28 bills totaling 931 pages. The list of bills Congress passed is below the Keeping Score section.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer. We're introducing something new this week: instead of listing new members of the Read the Bills Act Coalition in bunches every one or two weeks, we're going to mention new members as they join us. To see the latest member and to see how we're growing, check out the Keeping Score section below my signature.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org

KEEPING SCORE

New Read the Bills Act Coalition member: Defeat the Congress. To join the Coalition, click here: http://www.downsizedc.org/coalition 

We grew by 313 net new members since our previous report last Wednesday! This brings us to 2,942 net new members for the year. The Downsize DC Army now stands at 27,298 -- nearly 30% of the way from 27,000 to 28,000!

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

We can also grow faster by spreading the word through the media. Please help us do this by starting a monthly credit card pledge -- it can be as low as $5 a month (which is just 17 cents per day). You can start your pledge using our secure online contribution form.

Please let us know if its okay to advertise your support here:

NEW MONTHLY PLEDGERS IN JULY: Val Grayson, Arlene Aquino, Susan Varey, Chris Sengenberger, John DiLiberto, 3 unlisted -- 8 total. FROM JUNE: Bryan L Anderson, Janet Rea, Timothy M. Dyer Jr, Kenny Harrill, Ryan Sharif, Katherine Durham, David C. Flathmann, Maggie Culver, Ginny Rober, Dwight E. Baker, David H. Abernathy, John Murphy, Jeremiah J Blanchard, 6 unlisted -- 19 total

Or, you could make a one-time donation. Please let us know on our secure contribution form if its okay to advertise your support here: https://secure.downsizedc.org/contribute

NEW ONE TIME DONORS IN JULY: Bonnie Hofer, Anita Binns, Brian O'Neill, Richard E Camp, Travis Walston, Donald Grahn, Sonja Thompson, 8 unlisted -- 15 total. FROM JUNE: Bryan L Anderson, Richard S. Tolleson, Bryan Anderson, West Coile, James Sherman, Lawrence Lappin, Malin Williams, Jeffrey Taylor, Jason Pace, Kraig Clark, Autumn Browne, Victoria Pate, Patricia Barnum, Dwight E Baker, Rick Slusher, Dr. R.S. Gillinson, Edward J Krieger, Jan Berridge, 8 unlisted -- 26 total

If a tax deduction is important you can get one by contributing to the educational outreach efforts of the Downsize DC Foundation. Contribute at the Foundation's secure contribution form.

BILLS PASSED IN CONGRESS

 The following are the bills the House and Senate passed July 6-17. 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 7 bills 240 pages

Legislative Branch Appropriations Act: By 67 yeas to 25 nays (Vote No. 217), Senate passed H.R. 2918, making appropriations for the Legislative Branch for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, as amended; 46 pages

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act: By 84 yeas to 6 nays (Vote No. 229), Senate passed H.R. 2892, making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, as amended, 104 pages

Judicial Survivors Protection Act: Senate passed S. 1107, to amend title 28, United States Code, to provide for a limited 6-month period for Federal judges to opt into the Judicial Survivors' Annuities System and begin contributing toward an annuity for their spouse and dependent children upon their death. 6 pages

Foreign Evidence Request Efficiency Act: Committee on the Judiciary was discharged from further consideration of S. 1289, to improve title 18 of the United States Code, and the bill was then passed. 10 pages

Enhancing Small Business Research and Innovation Act: Senate passed H.R. 2965, to amend the Small Business Act with respect to the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program, after striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof, the text of S. 1233, to reauthorize and improve the SBIR and STTR programs, Senate companion measure; 64 pages

Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walla Walla, Washington: Committee on Veterans' Affairs was discharged from further consideration of S. 509, to authorize a major medical facility project at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walla Walla, Washington, and the bill was then passed. 4 pages

Trademark Act of 1946: Senate passed H.R. 3114, to authorize the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force, clearing the measure for the President. 6 pages

HOUSE 21 bills, 691 pages

Authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to provide an annual grant to facilitate an iron working training program for Native Americans: H.R. 1129, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide an annual grant to facilitate an iron working training program for Native Americans, by a recorded vote of 329 ayes to 75 noes, Roll No. 479; 3 pages

Authorizing the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force: H.R. 3114, to authorize the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to use funds made available under the Trademark Act of 1946 for patent operations in order to avoid furloughs and reductions-in-force. 6 pages

Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act of 2009: H.R. 1275, amended, to direct the exchange of certain land in Grand, San Juan, and Uintah Counties, Utah, by a 2/3 recorded vote of 423 ayes with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 481; 18 pages

Tule River Tribe Water Development Act: H.R. 1945, to require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on the feasibility and suitability of constructing a storage reservoir, outlet works, and a delivery system for the Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation in the State of California to provide a water supply for domestic, municipal, industrial, and agricultural purposes, by a 2/3 recorded vote of 417 ayes to 3 noes, Roll No. 482; 4 pages

Enhancing Small Business Research and Innovation Act of 2009: The House passed H.R. 2965, to amend the Small Business Act with respect to the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program, by a recorded vote of 386 ayes to 41 noes, Roll No. 486. 46 pages

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010: The House passed H.R. 2997, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 266 yeas to 160 nays, Roll No. 510. Consideration of the measure began on Wednesday, July 8th. 78 pages

Making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010: The House passed H.R. 3081, making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 318 yeas to 106 nays, Roll No. 525. 200 pages

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2010: The House passed H.R. 3082, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 415 yeas to 3 nays, Roll No. 529. 60 pages

Pilot College Work Study Programs for Veterans Act of 2009: H.R. 1037, amended, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a five-year pilot project to test the feasibility and advisability of expanding the scope of certain qualifying work-study activities under title 38, United States Code, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 422 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 535; 4 pages

William C. Tallent Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic Designation Act: H.R. 402, to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee, as the ``William C. Tallent Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 419 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 536; 4 pages

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Enhancement Act of 2009:  H.R. 1044, amended, to provide for the administration of Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial as a unit of the National Park System, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 415 yeas to 3 nays, Roll No. 540; 6 pages

Conveying certain submerged lands to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: H.R. 934, amended, to convey certain submerged lands to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in order to give that territory the same benefits in its submerged lands as Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have in their submerged lands, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 416 yeas with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 541; 4 pages

Validating final patent number 27-2005-0081: H.R. 762, to validate final patent number 27-2005-0081, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 413 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 542. 4 pages

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010: The House began consideration of H.R. 3183, making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. Consideration is expected to resume tomorrow, July 16th. 64 pages

Providing for the sale of the Federal Government's reversionary interest in approximately 60 acres of land in Salt Lake City, Utah, originally conveyed to the Mount Olivet Cemetery Association under the Act of January 23, 1909: H.R. 1442, amended, to provide for the sale of the Federal Government's reversionary interest in approximately 60 acres of land in Salt Lake City, Utah, originally conveyed to the Mount Olivet Cemetery Association under the Act of January 23, 1909, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 422 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 548; 6 pages

Authorizing the conveyance of certain National Forest System lands in the Los Padres National Forest in California: H.R. 129, amended, to authorize the conveyance of certain National Forest System lands in the Los Padres National Forest in California, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 422 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 549; 6 pages

Joint Ventures for Bird Habitat Conservation Act of 2009: H.R. 2188, amended, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior, through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, to conduct a Joint Venture Program to protect, restore, enhance, and manage migratory bird populations, their habitats, and the ecosystems they rely on, through voluntary actions on public and private lands, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 400 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 550; 28 pages

Providing for the conveyance of certain Bureau of Land Management land in the State of Nevada to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway: H.R. 409, amended, to provide for the conveyance of certain Bureau of Land Management land in the State of Nevada to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 406 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 551; 6 pages

Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2010: The House passed H.R. 3170, making appropriations for financial services and general government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 219 yeas to 208 nays with 1 voting ``present'', Roll No. 571. 146 pages

Restore Our American Mustangs Act: The House passed H.R. 1018, to amend the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to improve the management and long-term health of wild free-roaming horses and burros, by a recorded vote of 239 ayes to 185 noes, Roll No. 577. 22 pages

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010: The House passed H.R. 3183, making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, by a yea-and-nay vote of 320 yeas to 97 nays, Roll No. 592. 66 pages

 

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