DownsizeDC.org
March 23, 2006
We need your friends to help pass the "Read the Bills Act"
By Perry Willis

Today's Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

Please click here to send another message to Congress asking them to pass DownsizeDC.org's "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA). And then forward this to anyone you know who might think Congress should actually read the laws it passes.

CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Congress has received 32,052 messages in support of the "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA). This pressure has already prompted two different Representatives to offer anemic bills that would do a small part of what RTBA would do -- but only as a rule that Congress could easily wave, and not as a law that would force them to actually read the bills before they vote. Please add your voice to the rising sound of Americans demanding that Congress read the laws it passes. YOUR VOICE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. An explanation of RTBA follows . . .

Dear friend,

Congress passes new laws nearly every week. Many of them are huge. Few of them are ever read. No one in Congress really knows what they contain. Sometimes these laws are not even printed before a vote is held. They are often written by lobbyists or staffers, and not by the people we elected. Sometimes they have secret provisions stuck in them at the last moment.

You have to pay for these laws, and live under them. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for you. Only the lawmakers can get away with not knowing what a law contains. THIS HAS TO STOP!

That's why DownsizeDC.org is promoting a law of it's own: the "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA) RTBA is only 2 pages long. You can read it for yourself here.

RTBA's requirements are simple. Every word of every bill must be read before a quorum of the House and Senate before a vote can be held. Those in Congress planning to vote yes on a bill must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that they have read every word of the bill in question. All bills must be posted in their final form on the Internet for 7 days before a vote can be held. Americans would have an effective defense in court against any bill passed in violation of these stipulations.

The positive results of this law would be profound. Congress would really know what it's doing before it does it. Everything Congress does would be fully exposed to public view. There would be no secret last minute insertions into bills. Real debate could occur. Bills would tend to become shorter and clearer so Congress could bear listening to them read. Fewer bad proposals would be passed by combining them with good proposals. Secret earmarks -- pork projects -- would no longer be secret. The pace of government growth would slow. You would receive real representation, for a change.

What are the objections to this bill?

Congress objects because they wouldn't be able to legislate as much, spend as much, tax as much, and borrow as much. If you're a person who loves Big Government so much that you're desperate to have more of it at any cost, even at the price of passing unread legislation, then you will not want to support RTBA.

The other objection we have heard is that RTBA allows no emergency exception for the 7-day waiting period. But there is good reason for this lack of an emergency exception . . .

Provide an emergency exception and everything will become an emergency in the eyes of Congress, even if super-majorities are required to declare an emergency. But there are no emergencies that would be mishandled because of the 7-day waiting period. Indeed, most emergencies require cool heads, not a panicked response. Moreover, if America is attacked or threatened the President already has the power to respond. Example: Absolutely nothing would have changed about World War II if Congress had waited 7-days to formally declare war on Japan after Pearl Harbor. Nothing would have changed about 9-11 either. Or the Katrina disaster. No emergency exception is needed.

Give Congress and inch and they'll take a mile. RTBA gives no inches.

RTBA is a powerful tool for restoring responsible government. You have the power to make Congress pass RTBA. A mere 32,000 messages have already motivated some in Congress to take the first anemic steps in the right direction. No one in Congress wants to claim they shouldn't read the laws they pass. Apply pressure on them and they will eventually crack. YOU can apply pressure right now by taking 3-minutes to send your first message to Congress asking them to pass RTBA. You can do so by clicking here.

Thank you for participating in this campaign.

Perry Willis Communications Director DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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