DownsizeDC.org
July 14, 2009
The Real Deal
By James Wilson

MEDIA ALERT: DownsizeDC.org President Jim Babka will be a guest on Free Talk Live TONIGHT beginning at 7:06 pm Eastern. You can listen at http://freetalklive.com/tunein.php

Quote of the Day: "If a bill for which there is no copy were to actually pass this body, could the bill without a copy be sent to the Senate for its consideration?" -- Rep. Joe Barton

Subject: The Real Deal

Last week we told you about a proposed new ruling that would adversely affect the pocketknife industry. The proposal from Customs is 63 pages long. Opponents rightly complained that the 30-day window for public comments wasn't long enough.

However, compared to Congress, unelected bureaucrats are models of transparency. Consider how the House passed the Cap & Trade bill . . .

Such shenanigans are not new, but they're increasingly commonplace. The American people are growing disgusted that Congress doesn't read the bills they pass. They're tired of Congress's lack of transparency and failure of representation.

DownsizeDC.org has the solution, the Read the Bills Act (RTBA).

This solution scares the Establishment. That's why other organizations are stepping in with watered-down proposals.

  • One foundation seeks to "foster public trust in government," not to downsize it. They want bills posted on-line for 72 hours before they're considered on the House floor. But most people with jobs and families can't read a 1,400 bill in three days. Think tanks, journalists, and activist groups won't have enough time to analyze it either. Moreover, this proposed rule can be overturned in case of "emergency," which means everything would become an emergency.
  • Another organization threatens to turn "reading the bills" into a sickening partisan issue. It actually boasts of its efforts on behalf of George W. Bush's re-election in 2004. It wants members of Congress to sign a pledge that they will not vote for the health care reform bill if they haven't read it and if it hasn't been posted on the Internet for, yes, 72 hours.

Why don't they have this pledge for other bills?

The drawback of such a proposal is that . . .

  • Republicans who won't vote for the bill anyway can easily sign this pledge
  • Democratic leaders will view reading the bills as a partisan grandstanding issue rather than a substantive reform
  • They could rightfully ask why Republicans weren't so keen on reading bills when they were in power.

In contrast, DownsizeDC.org first proposed the Read the Bills Act in 2005, when Republicans were in power, in reaction to Bush bills like the Patriot Act, Intelligence Reorganization, and the Medicare Drug Benefit.

The Read the Bills Act is the "real deal" . . .

  • It requires bills to be read by a quorum in Congress. They won't sit for 1,000 page readings, so bills will be much shorter.
  • Those who were not present for the reading must sign an affidavit stating that they have read and understand the bill before voting for it.
  • Bills in their final, amended form must be posted on the Internet for a full week before the final vote is taken, giving more people more time to read them and give their representatives informed feedback.
  • No exceptions can be made.

Tell Congress to introduce and pass DownsizeDC.org's Read the Bills Act. Also tell them . . .

  • this isn't a partisan issue; the first version of the RTBA was written in 2005 in reaction to the GOP Congress
  • while regulatory agencies often allow a month or more for comments, the RTBA requires only a week for finalized bills to be posted on the Internet
  • watered-down reforms like the 72-hour rule are cosmetic changes that won't stop scandalous 1,400 page bills from being passed

To exceed the 43,290 messages Downsizers sent to Congress last month we must send 1,871 messages today.

Also, please consider adding your blog or website to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. This is an effortless way to spread the word about RTBA, and in exchange your site will be listed on our blog and mentioned in a Dispatch like this. Details are here.

This week we welcome 4 new members of the Coalition:

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer. To see how we're growing, see our Keeping Score Section below my signature.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org

KEEPING SCORE

We've grown by 230 net new members since yesterday! This brings us to 2,608 net new members for the year. The Downsize DC Army now stands at 26,964 -- 96% of the way from 26,000 to 27,000! We're about to reach another milestone!

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. 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: John DiLiberto, 2 unlisted -- 3 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:

NEW ONE TIME DONORS IN JULY: Travis Walston, Donald Grahn, Sonja Thompson, five unlisted -- 8 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 secuire contribution form.

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.

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