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January 17, 2013

What Reading the Bills Will Do for You and Congress

NOTE: Most Congressional updates are done. Several offices lag. You should be able to communicate with most, if not all of them. As new officeholders make their information available, we will be updating.

Quote of the Day:  “The United States is a nation of laws, badly written and randomly enforced.” – Frank Zappa

Did you hate the “fiscal cliff” deal?

If so, tell Congress to pass DownsizeDC.org's Read the Bills Act.

You may copy or edit the following sample letter . . .

The Read the Bills Act (RTBA) is needed because . . .

In 2012, the Senate passed 318 bills totalling 7,103 pages, and the House passed 381 bills coming to 7,889 pages. (http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/bills-passed-by-the-house-and-senate-2012) None of these bills were read by those who passed them.

The “fiscal cliff” deal is a perfect (bad) example. The final bill (HR 8) was 159 pages long. It was…

* negotiated and passed at the last minute, so that…
* members had no time to read it…
* the public had no time to comment.

This deal included dozens of extended tax breaks for, among others…

* Citigroup
* General Electric
* Hollywood filmmakers
* NASCAR
* “Green” energy

Why should some businesses get tax breaks but not others? Why should the Feds pick winners and losers?

The RTBA would discourage this special-interest peddling. It would require you to…

* Read the entire bill, or…
* Hear the entire bill read with a quorum of your colleagues present, unless…
* You have decided to oppose the bill

RTBA also requires bills to be posted online seven days in advance of the final vote.

RTBA will force Congress to improve…

* You will have to plan ahead.
* Bills will be shorter, more focused, and easier to understand.
* Posting bills online will discourage pork, special tax breaks, and other cronyism.
* Because you will know the contents of the bills, you will actually be able to represent us for a change, instead of just bowing to your party leadership or to powerful special interests.

Start the new session right. Introduce the Read the Bills Act!

END LETTER

You can send your letter using DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System.

Many people are surprised that Congress doesn’t read their bills. Our Policy Research Director, James Wilson, has compiled a list of the bills Congress passed during their final month. The volume of pages will come as little surprise to you. It quickly becomes evident NO MEMBER could’ve possibly have read them all. Potentially, you know others who may find this report interesting.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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