Downsize D.C.

KVNU had a post today about a movement to let the Protect America Act (PAA) expire. That caught my attention and led me to DownsizeDC.org. This is the kind of site that would attract any self-proclaimed Constitutionalist, Ron Paul supporter, or advocate for limited government. Among the various things they advocate for is a bill to require that members of congress have a chance to read any bill before they cast votes on it. That just makes sense. Anytime one of our senators or representatives votes on a bill they have not read it is like signing  a contract (for their constituents no less) without reading the fine print. Worse yet, it’s like my one-year-old raising his hand to sustain someone in sacrament meeting when he has no concept of what is happening – he just raises his hand because the people he knows are raising their hands which is a lot like a game we play at home called “Isaac Says.”

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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Comments

8 Responses to Downsize D.C.

  1. Reach Upward says:

    Actually, I’d like a law that only allows legislators that swear that they have read a bill in its entirety to vote on that bill. Furthermore, I’d like a law that places a maximum number of characters for any bill, so that a bill could not exceed, say 15 pages of 12-point font. This would substantially slow things down in Washington. Big bills would have to be broken up into smaller bills. Only a few bills could be considered each month.

  2. David says:

    That sounds good, especially if the bill has to pass with favorable votes of a majority of the legislative body, not just a majority of those who have qualified to vote for the bill.

    I’m not confident that I would know how short we could set the maximum length of a bill, but shorter bills would help require that the bills were concise and probably more understandable.

    There as a One subject at a time act that would also help in this regard.

    Some people would complain about the prospect of slowing government down, arguing that slowing them down would prevent them from reacting to emergencies. I like the idea though because legislating in emergencies leads to bad laws. just look at warrantless wiretapping etc.

  3. Carl says:

    Seriously, do you think the senators would really understand what they were reading much less understand the overall implications of the bill? I don’t think they’d have the first idea especially after their special interests have had their say.
    The bills are drafted by specialist lawyers to be read and “understood” by specialist lawyers. Senators are hopelessly out of their league when they have to get down to the nitty gritty. They may have a law education, but it’s too old to be any use.

  4. David says:

    If the members of congress had to actually read the bills don’t you think they would start to insist on having bills they could understand? If they pass a bill that they did not understand it won’t be long before some specialist lawyer who understands the bill and disagrees with it will be reporting to citizens what was actually passed so they can hold their leaders responsible.

    That’s would be a very short learning curve before those leaders learned to understand the bills they vote for before they cast their votes – they would have lost the option of saying, “I didn’t actually read it.”

  5. Carl says:

    In short, this proposition is aimed at making the legislators earn their salary. Believe me, that will NEVER fly. Also, having the legislators understand the bill enough to vote for it would probably bring the whole process to a standstill. This last sentence is based on empirical conjecture.

  6. David says:

    Bringing the whole process to a standstill might not be a bad thing.

  7. Carl says:

    One second, I think I forgot my anarchist reading material and thimble. (see “Stranger Than Fiction”)

  8. David says:

    Do you really think that not passing new laws will result in anarchy?

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