DownsizeDC.org
April 7, 2009
The Myth of Good Intentions
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "The economy is so bad the Mafia has started laying off judges." -- anonymous Internet joke

Subject: The myth of good intentions

A bill with a nice-sounding title, such as the "Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)," passes Congress. Later, when its defects come to light, even the law's victims assume that the bill had "good intentions," but was "poorly written." I saw this sentiment expressed often while reading blogs about the CPSIA.

But I think these assumptions about "good intentions" are a little naive. After all, if Congress really had "good intentions" they would have taken the time and care to write a better bill that wouldn't have deprived poor children of second-hand winter coats. The fact that they didn't tells me that . . .

Their motive was good publicity, not good intentions.

That's why they rushed to pass a poorly-written law without reading it. As we've pointed out, had the "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA) been in force, Congress would have crafted a much better bill.

Yet members of Congress claim that RTBA is impractical, even though it could have prevented the destructive aspects of the CPSIA and the AIG bonus provision in the scam-stimulus bill, while still allowing them to pass as much as 8,000 pages of legislation each year.

The more Congress refuses to introduce, consider, or pass the RTBA, the less we can credit them for "good intentions." We must tell our personal elected representatives that . . .

  • If they pass bills with secret provisions inserted at the last minute, they're just as guilty as the person who snuck it in.
  • If they did not read a bill before voting for it, they are not motivated by good intentions.
  • They are morally responsible for the unintended consequences of the poorly-worded laws they pass.

From early February through March 26, both the House and the Senate passed over 3,500 pages of legislation they didn't read. As taxpayers and law-abiding citizens, you and I are "on the hook" for Congress's phony good intentions. Please use our Educate the Powerful system to ask your representatives to pass DownsizeDC.org's "Read the Bills Act."

Use your personal comments to object to the fact that they passed 3,500 pages of legislation over two months, without reading it. Tell them they're the ones now on the hook:

  • If they vote for massive bills without reading them, we'll remember.
  • If they continue to ignore our demands to introduce the "Read the Bills Act," we'll remember.

If you've used our Educate the Powerful System before, the best way to send your message, given our current technical difficulties, is to log-in using the log-in button at the top of our home page. http://www.downsizedc.org/

Then, click on the campaign button on the navigation strip at the top of the page, then click on the "Read the Bills" campaign button at the top of the left hand column. That will call-up the page for sending your message.

If you're sending your first message to Congress, click on this link, fill out the simple registration form for first time users, and send your message.

Ask your friends to do the same by forwarding this message.

You can also spread the word by joining the Read the Bills Act Coalition. Details on adding your blog or website to the Coalition are found here.

This week we welcome five new members to the Coalition:

To see the list of bills Congress passed, look below my signature in the blog version of this Dispatch.

Thank you for being part of the Downsize DC Army.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org

P.S.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 16 bills, 3557 pages


Emergency Economic Stabilization Act: Senate passed S. 383, to amend the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (division A of Public Law 110-343) to provide the Special Inspector General with additional authorities and responsibilities. 10 pages

American Recovery And Reinvestment Act: By 61 yeas to 37 nays (Vote No. 61), Senate passed H.R. 1, making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, 759 pages

Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building: Senate passed S. 234, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois, as the ``Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building''. 1 page

District Of Columbia House Voting Rights Act: By 61 yeas to 37 nays (Vote No. 73), Senate passed S. 160, to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives, after agreeing to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute, 32 pages

Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse: Committee on Environment and Public Works was discharged from further consideration of S. 387, to designate the United States courthouse located at 211 South Court Street, Rockford, Illinois, as the ``Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse'', and the bill was then passed. 1 pages

Omnibus Appropriations Act: Senate passed H.R. 1105, making omnibus appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, 1124 pages

Extend Certain Immigration Programs: Senate passed H.R. 1127, to extend certain immigration programs, clearing the measure for the President. 2 pages

Omnibus Indian Advancement Act: Committee on Indian Affairs was discharged from further consideration of S. 338, to amend the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act to modify the date as of which certain tribal land of the Lytton Rancheria of California is deemed to be held in trust and to provide for the conduct of certain activities on the land, and the bill was then passed. 4 pages

Bennett Freeze: Committee on Indian Affairs was discharged from further consideration of S. 39, to repeal section 10(f) of Public Law 93-531, commonly known as the ``Bennett Freeze'', and the bill was then passed. 4 pages

Automatic Pay Adjustments for Members of Congress: Senate passed S. 620, to repeal the provision of law that provides automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress. 4 pages

Extension of Programs for Small Businesses: Senate passed H.R. 1541, to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page

Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act: Senate passed S. 303, to reauthorize and improve the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999. 14 pages

Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act: Senate passed H.R. 1512, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program, clearing the measure for the President. 3 pages

Senate passed H.R. 146, to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, 1218 pages

Generations Invigorating Volunteerism And Education Act: By 79 yeas to 19 nays (Vote No. 115), Senate passed H.R. 1388, to reauthorize and reform the national service laws, 310 pages




HOUSE 52 bills, 3,547 pages


CAMPUS Safety Act of 2009: H.R. 748, to establish and operate a National Center for Campus Public Safety; 6 pages

Reducing Over-Classification Act of 2009: H.R. 553, to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a strategy to prevent the over-classification of homeland security and other information and to promote the sharing of unclassified homeland security and other information; 14 pages

Fair, Accurate, Secure, and Timely Redress Act of 2009: H.R. 559, to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish an appeal and redress process for individuals wrongly delayed or prohibited from boarding a flight, or denied a right, benefit, or privilege, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 413 yeas to 3 nays, Roll No. 49; 14 pages

National Bombing Prevention Act of 2009: H.R. 549, amended, to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish the Office for Bombing Prevention, to address terrorist explosive threats. 16 pages

Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009: The House agreed to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2, to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children's Health Insurance Program, by a yea-and-nay vote of 290 yeas to 135 nays, Roll No. 50. 280 pages

DTV Delay Act: The House passed S. 352, to postpone the DTV transition date, by a yea-and-nay vote of 264 yeas to 158 nays, Roll No. 52. 5 pages

Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2009: H.R. 738, to encourage States to report to the Attorney General certain information regarding the deaths of individuals in the custody of law enforcement agencies, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 407 yeas to 1 nay, Roll No. 53. 8 pages

Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act:  H.R. 912, to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the eligibility requirements with respect to airline flight crews. 6 pages

Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program Reauthorization of 2009: H.R. 908, to amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program 4 pages

National Silver Alert Act 2009: H.R. 632, to encourage, enhance, and integrate Silver Alert plans throughout the United States and to authorize grants for the assistance of organizations to find missing adults. 19 pages

National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act of 2009: H.R. 554, to authorize activities for support of nanotechnology research and development; 32 pages

Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act: H.R. 631, to increase research, development, education, and technology transfer activities related to water use efficiency and conservation technologies and practices at the Environmental Protection Agency; 12 pages

Produced Water Utilization Act of 2009: H.R. 469, to encourage research, development, and demonstration of technologies to facilitate the utilization D140of water produced in connection with the development of domestic energy resources. 6 pages

Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2009: H.R. 448, amended, to protect seniors in the United States from elder abuse by establishing specialized elder abuse prosecution and research programs and activities to aid victims of elder abuse, to provide training to prosecutors and other law enforcement related to elder abuse prevention and protection, and to establish programs that provide for emergency crisis response teams to combat elder abuse, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 397 yeas to 25 nays, Roll No. 62. 22 pages

Yvonne Ingram-Ephraim Post Office Building Designation Act: 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''. 1 page

Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act:  H.R. 44, to implement the recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 299 yeas to 99 nays, Roll No. 73; 14 pages

Authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to lease certain lands in Virgin Islands National Park: H.R. 714, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease certain lands in Virgin Islands National Park; 8 pages

Box Elder Utah Land Conveyance Act: H.R. 601, to provide for the conveyance of parcels of land to Mantua, Box Elder County, Utah, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 396 yeas to 1 nay, Roll No. 74; 4 pages

Utah National Guard Readiness Act: H.R. 603, to require the conveyance of certain public land within the boundaries of Camp Williams, Utah, to support the training and readiness of the Utah National Guard; 4 pages

Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2009: H.R. 911, to require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 295 yeas to 102 nays, Roll No. 72. 32 pages

Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building Designation Act: S. 234, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2105 East Cook Street in Springfield, Illinois, as the ``Colonel John H. Wilson, Jr. Post Office Building'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 417 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 79. 1 pages

Captive Primate Safety Act:  H.R. 80, to amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to treat nonhuman primates as prohibited wildlife species under that Act and to make corrections in the provisions relating to captive wildlife offenses under that Act, by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 323 ayes to 95 noes, Roll No. 76 12 pages

South Orange County Recycled Water Enhancement Act: H.R. 637, to authorize the Secretary, in cooperation with the City of San Juan Capistrano, California, to participate in the design, planning, and construction of an advanced water treatment plant facility and recycled water system, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 402 yeas to 16 nays, Roll No. 77. 6 pages

Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009: The House passed H.R. 1105, making omnibus appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, by a yea-and-nay vote of 245 yeas to 178 nays, Roll No. 86. 1123 pages

Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009: The House began consideration of H.R. 1106, to prevent mortgage foreclosures and enhance mortgage credit availability. Further proceedings were postponed. 66 pages

Cocopah Lands Act: H.R. 326, to direct the Secretary of the Interior to take lands in Yuma County, Arizona, into trust as part of the reservation of the Cocopah Tribe of Arizona; 8 pages

Shark Conservation Act of 2009: H.R. 81, to amend the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to improve the conservation of sharks; 6 pages

Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Amendments of 2009: H.R. 844, to amend the provisions of law relating to the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. 8 pages

Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act:  H.R. 146, amended, to amend the American Battlefield Protection Act of 1996 to establish a battlefield acquisition grant program for the acquisition and protection of nationally significant battlefields and associated sites of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 394 yeas to 13 nays, Roll No. 91 6 pages

Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2009: H.R. 548, amended, to assist citizens, public and private institutions, and governments at all levels in planning, interpreting, and protecting sites where historic battles were fought on American soil during the armed conflicts that shaped the growth and development of the United States, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 402 yeas to 13 nays, Roll No. 92. 6 pages

Extending certain immigration programs: H.R. 1127, to extend certain immigration programs. 4 pages

Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009: The House passed H.R. 1106, to prevent mortgage foreclosures and enhance mortgage credit availability, by a yea-and-nay vote of 234 yeas to 191 nays, Roll No. 104. Consideration of the measure began on Thursday, February 26th. 66 pages

Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act: H.R. 131, amended, to establish the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission, by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 371 ayes to 19 noes with 1 voting ``present'', Roll No. 112. 10 pages

J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse Designation Act:   H.R. 813, to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 306 East Main Street in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, as the ``J. Herbert W. Small Federal Building and United States Courthouse'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 427 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 114; 1 page

Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building Designation Act: H.R. 837, to designate the Federal building located at 799 United Nations Plaza in New York, New York, as the ``Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building''; 1 page

R. Jess Brown United States Courthouse Designation Act: H.R. 842, to designate the United States Courthouse to be constructed in Jackson, Mississippi, as the ``R. Jess Brown United States Courthouse'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 424 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 115; 1 page

Scott Reed Federal Building and United States Courthouse Designation Act: H.R. 869, to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 101 Barr Street in Lexington, Kentucky, as the ``Scott Reed Federal Building and United States Courthouse''; 1 page

James A. Leach United States Courthouse Designation Act: H.R. 887, to designate the United States courthouse located at 131 East 4th Street in Davenport, Iowa, as the ``James A. Leach United States Courthouse''; 1 page

Water Quality Investment Act of 2009: The House passed H.R. 1262, to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to authorize appropriations for State water pollution control revolving funds, by a recorded vote of 317 ayes to 101 noes, Roll No. 123. 66 page

John Scott Challis, Jr. Post Office Designation Act: H.R. 987, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 601 8th Street in Freedom, Pennsylvania, as the ``John Scott Challis, Jr. Post Office'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 384 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 125; 1 page

Specialist Peter J. Navarro Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 1217, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 15455 Manchester Road in Ballwin, Missouri, as the ``Specialist Peter J. Navarro Post Office Building'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 384 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 126; 1 page

Major Ed W. Freeman Post Office Designation Act: 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'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 384 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 127.  1 page

Establishing a pilot program in certain United States district courts to encourage enhancement of expertise in patent cases among district judges:  H.R. 628, to establish a pilot program in certain United States district courts to encourage enhancement of expertise in patent cases among district judges, by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 409 ayes to 7 noes, Roll No. 130; 10 pages

Stop AIDS in Prison Act of 2009: H.R. 1429, to provide for an effective HIV/AIDS program in Federal prisons; 16 pages

John ``Bud'' Hawk Post Office Designation Act: H.R. 955, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 10355 Northeast Valley Road in Rollingbay, Washington, as the ``John `Bud' Hawk Post Office''; 1 page

Reducing Information Control Designations Act: H.R. 1323, amended, to require the Archivist of the United States to promulgate regulations regarding the use of information control designations; 14 pages

Providing for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958: H.R. 1541, to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958. 4 pages

Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009: H.R. 1512, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and to amend title 49, United States Code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program. 6 pages

Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act: The House passed H.R. 1388, to reauthorize and reform the national service laws, by a yea-and-nay vote of 321 yeas to 105 nays, Roll No. 140. 310 pages

Imposing an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients: H.R. 1586, impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 328 yeas to 93 nays, Roll No. 143. 8 pages

Lance Corporal Matthew P. Pathenos Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 1216, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1100 Town and Country Commons in Chesterfield, Missouri, as the ``Lance Corporal Matthew P. Pathenos Post Office Building''. 1 page

Stan Lundine Post Office Building Designation Act: 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'', by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 396 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 145; 1 page

Lance Corporal Drew W. Weaver Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 1218, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 112 South 5th Street in Saint Charles, Missouri, as the ``Lance Corporal Drew W. Weaver Post Office Building'', by a \2/3\ recorded vote of 399 ayes with none voting ``no'', Roll No. 146. 1 page

Department of Homeland Security Component Privacy Officer Act of 2009: H.R. 1617, to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide for a privacy official within each component of the Department of Homeland Security, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 412 yeas to 3 nays, Roll No. 147; 8 pages

Requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a program in the maritime environment for the mobile biometric identification of suspected individuals, including terrorists, to enhance border security: H.R. 1148, to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a program in the maritime environment for the mobile biometric identification of suspected individuals, including terrorists, to enhance border security; 4 pages

Nuclear Forensics and Attribution Act: H.R. 730, to strengthen efforts in the Department of Homeland Security to develop nuclear forensics capabilities to permit attribution of the source of nuclear D309material, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 402 yeas to 16 nays, Roll No. 148; 12 pages

Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009: S. 383, to amend the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (division A of Public Law 110-343) to provide the Special Inspector General with additional authorities and responsibilities, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 423 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 152 10 pages

Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse Designation Act: S. 520, to designate the United States Courthouse under construction at 327 South Church Street, Rockford, Illinois, as the ``Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse''. 1 page

Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009: The House agreed to the Senate amendments to H.R. 146, to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System and to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, by a yea-and-nay vote of 285 yeas to 140 nays, Roll No. 153. 1218 pages

Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act: The House passed H.R. 1404, to authorize a supplemental funding source for catastrophic emergency wildland fire suppression activities on Department of the Interior and National Forest System lands and to require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a cohesive wildland fire management strategy, by a recorded vote of 412 ayes to 3 noes, Roll No. 162. 18 pages 




 

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