DownsizeDC.org
March 17, 2008
We Support the President and Congress
By James Wilson
Today's Downsizer-Dispatch . . . President Bush and both houses of Congress have each proposed 5-year budget blue-prints. They are based on wildly optimistic economic projections, and revenues will probably not be as high as they expect. The plans also don't include funding for the War in Iraq after 2009. We would be delighted if this means we've pulled out of Iraq by then, but that likely won't happen. Today, however, we won't be overly-critical, because these plans would reduce the federal government's spending and debt relative to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We must encourage Congress and the President to continue in this direction.
Non-defense discretionary spending is one place each plan foresees some fiscal discipline. Currently, this part of the budget consumes 3.7% of GDP. President Bush projects it will fall to 2.8% by 2013 through a four-year spending freeze. While it probably won't fall that low, we agree that freezing spending is the next best thing to cutting it. Bush's plan is preferable to House and Senate plans that would increase spending slightly. Nevertheless, their increases fall well below the inflation rate, and they expect non-defense discretionary spending to fall to 3.2 or 3.1% of GDP. Source: Concord Coalition

This discretionary non-defense spending includes virtually all (non-military) pork-barrel projects. It includes almost all of the cost of enforcing countless laws that infringe on our freedoms, hurt the economy, increase social turmoil, and violate the Constitution. The less that is spent here, the better. The less spent on pork, the more confidence the people will have in Congress. The less spent on top-down federal programs, the quicker we can restore the American Experiment of self-government in the states and local communities. The less spent on regulatory enforcement,  the less mom-and-pop business owners and entrepreneurs will worry about Big Brother bureaucrats breathing down their neck.

Overall, we applaud the intentions of Congress and the President to curtail the growth of wasteful and counterproductive spending. And we applaud their goals of reducing the burden of Big Government and securing budget surpluses.

And DownsizeDC.org has just the weapon to help Congress and the President achieve their goals. It is called the Read the Bills Act (RTBA).

The RTBA will require members of Congress who support a particular bill to read it first. Because there are so many proposed bills - thousands per year - the RTBA will force Congressional committees and Congressional leadership to focus on the most urgent bills - and force these bills to be easy to understand. This means they will have to be as short as possible, and as simple as possible.

This will make it virtually impossible for members of Congress to sneak in new laws and pork-barrel spending to bills. Congress will simply have no time to grant every spending request or add new, counter-productive laws. It simply won't have the time to make government bigger and more complex.

So let's support Congress and the President for a change. Tell them we applaud their plans for smaller government, as indicated in their budget proposals. And tell them the best way to achieve their goals is through the Read the Bills Act.

In addition to sending your message, please consider joining the Read the Bills Act Coalition. By joining the Coalition, you will point visitors of your website to the RTBA, and we will in turn mention you in a Downsizer-Dispatch and list you at our blog. More information is here.

Today we welcome three new members to the Coalition:

Politically Spastic

The Liberty Marketplace


Paul Congress

Lastly, we keep a record of the number of bills, and pages of legislation, Congress passes each week. For the latest information, scroll to below my signature in the blog version of this Dispatch.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org The following are the bills the House and Senate passed from February 25 through March 15. 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. Overall: Senate: 13 bills, 669 pages House: 21 bills, 529 pages House Feb 25-29: 7 bills, 110 pages Providing for the continued minting and issuance of certain $1 coins in 2008: H.R. 5478, to provide for the continued minting and issuance of certain $1 coins in 2008. 1 page Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008: The House passed H.R. 5351, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation, by a yea-and-nay vote of 236 yeas to 182 nays, Roll No. 84. 104 pages Captain Jonathan D. Grassbaugh Post Office Designation Act: S. 2478, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 59 Colby Corner in East Hampstead, New Hampshire, as the ``Captain Jonathan D. Grassbaugh Post Office''--clearing the measure for the President; 1 page John ``Marty'' Thiels Southpark Station Designation Act: S. 2272, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service known as the Southpark Station in Alexandria, Louisiana, as the John ``Marty'' Thiels Southpark Station, in honor and memory of Thiels, a Louisiana postal worker who was killed in the line of duty on October 4, 2007, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 400 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 85--clearing the measure for the President; 1 page Sgt. Jason Harkins Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 3936, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 116 Helen Highway in Cleveland, Georgia, as the ``Sgt. Jason Harkins Post Office Building'', by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 400 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 86; 1 page John Henry Wooten, Sr. Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 3803, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3100 Cashwell Drive in Goldsboro, North Carolina, as the ``John Henry Wooten, Sr. Post Office Building''; 1 page Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Military Heroes of Louisville Memorial Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 4454, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3050 Hunsinger Lane in Louisville, Kentucky, as the ``Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Military Heroes of Louisville Memorial Post Office Building'', in honor of the service men and women from Louisville, Kentucky, who died in service during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 404 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 87; 2 pages SENATE Feb 25-29: 6 bills, 440 pages Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments: By 83 yeas and 10 nays (Vote No. 32), Senate passed S. 1200, to amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. 423 pages Federal Rules of Evidence: Senate passed S. 2450, to amend the Federal Rules of Evidence to address the waiver of the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine. 5 pages Andean Trade Preference Extension Act: Senate passed H.R. 5264, to extend the Andean Trade Preference Act, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page Minting and Issuance of Certain $1 Coins: Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 5478, to provide for the continued minting and issuance of certain $1 coins in 2008, and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 1 page Noise Compatibility Projects: Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation was discharged from further consideration of S. 996, to amend title 49, United States Code, to expand passenger facility fee eligibility for certain noise compatibility projects, and the bill was then passed. 6 pages Supplemental Environmental Projects: Senate passed S. 2146, to authorize the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to accept, as part of a settlement, diesel emission reduction Supplemental Environmental Projects. 4 pages HOUSE MARCH 3-7 8 bills, 234 pages Authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to lease certain lands in Virgin Islands National Park: H.R. 1143, amended, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease certain lands in Virgin Islands National Park, by a \2/3\ yea-and-nay vote of 378 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 88; 6 pages Wright Brothers-Dunbar National Historical Park Designation Act: H.R. 4191, to redesignate Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park in the State of Ohio as ``Wright Brothers-Dunbar National Historic Park'', by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 407 yeas to 4 nays, Roll No. 91. 4 pages Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act of 2007: H.R. 1084, amended, to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956, and the Foreign Service Act of 1980 to build operational readiness in civilian agencies; 16 pages Cyndi Taylor Krier Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 4774, amended, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 10250 John Saunders Road in San Antonio, Texas, as the ``Cyndi Taylor Krier Post Office Building'', by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 404 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 97; 1 page Major Arthur Chin Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 5220, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3800 SW. 185th Avenue in Beaverton, Oregon, as the ``Major Arthur Chin Post Office Building''; 1 page Sgt. Michael M. Kashkoush Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 5400, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 160 East Washington Street in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, as the ``Sgt. Michael M. Kashkoush Post Office Building'', by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 402 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 102; 1 page Capitol Visitor Center Act of 2008: H.R. 5159, amended, to establish the Office of the Capitol Visitor Center within the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, headed by the Chief Executive Officer for Visitor Services and to provide for the effective management and administration of the Capitol Visitor Center; 29 pages Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007: The House passed H.R. 1424, to amend section 712 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, section 2705 of the Public Health Service Act, and section 9812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans, by a yea-and-nay vote of 268 yeas to 148 nays, Roll No. 101. 176 pages SENATE MARCH 3-7 2 bills, 105 pages Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act: By 79 yeas and 13 nays (Vote No. 41), Senate passed H.R. 4040, to establish consumer product safety standards and other safety requirements for children's products and to reauthorize and modernize the Consumer Product Safety Commission, after striking all after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof, the text of S. 2663, Senate companion measure, as amended. 104 pages Higher Education Extension Act: Senate passed S. 2733, to temporarily extend the programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965. 1 page HOUSE MARCH 10-14 6 bills, 185 pages E. Arthur Gray Post Office Building Designation Act: H.R. 3196, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 20 Sussex Street in Port Jervis, New York, as the ``E. Arthur Gray Post Office Building'', by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 382 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 109; 1 page Steve W. Allee Carrier Annex Designation Act : H.R. 4166, to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 701 East Copeland Drive in Lebanon, Missouri, as the ``Steve W. Allee Carrier Annex'', by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 382 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 110. 1 page Temporarily extending the programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965: S. 2733, to temporarily extend the programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 411 yeas to 4 nays, Roll No. 134--clearing the measure for the President. 1 page Extending agricultural programs beyond March 15, 2008 and suspending permanent price support authorities beyond that date: S. 2745, to extend agricultural programs beyond March 15, 2008 and to suspend permanent price support authorities beyond that date--clearing the measure for the President; 2 pages Pension Protection Technical Corrections Act of 2007: H.R. 3361, amended, to make technical corrections related to the Pension Protection Act of 2006; 60 pages FISA Amendments Act of 2008: The House agreed to the Senate amendment with an amendment, made in order by the rule and printed in H. Rept. 110-549, to H.R. 3773, to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, by a yea-and-nay vote of 213 yeas to 197 nays with 1 voting ``present'', Roll No. 145. 120 pages SENATE MARCH 10-14 5 bills, 124 pages Kendell Frederick Citizenship Assistance Act: Committee on the Judiciary was discharged from further consideration of S. 2516, to assist members of the Armed Forces in obtaining United States citizenship, and the bill was then passed, 10 pages Second Chance Act: Committee on the Judiciary was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 1593, to reauthorize the grant program for reentry of offenders into the community in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, to improve reentry planning and implementation, and the bill was then passed, clearing the measure for the President. 38 pages Authorizing the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution to construct a greenhouse facility at its museum support facility in Suitland, Maryland: H.R. 5492, to authorize the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution to construct a greenhouse facility at its museum support facility in Suitland, Maryland. 4 pages Agricultural Programs Extension: Senate passed S. 2745, to extend agricultural programs beyond March 15, 2008, to suspend permanent price support authorities beyond that date. 2 pages Budget Resolution: By 51 yeas to 44 nays (Vote No. 85), Senate agreed to S. Con. Res. 70, setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2009 and including the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2008 and 2010 through 2013, 70 pages
Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, RTBA
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