This apparently is another one of those “must pass” bills, to which every bottom feeder is allowed, if not encouraged, to attach any big pork payoffs, so they will become law if the government is to continue being funded.
Then, when a constituent complains, they get an apology from their alleged representative that, they are sorry, but they had to vote for it as it was part of a “must pass” bill.
In the runup to yet another Congressional vacation, the Congress has passed several thousand pages of legislation of which nobody but lobbyists and staff has read any more than the title. Buried in that legislation are items such as the REAL ID Act, which was rejected hands down several times as stand alone legislation. It is now the Law of the Land (“Your papers, please?”)
Short of armed revolution, if we are ever to have a representative Constitutional Republic again, we must somehow get the Read the Bills Act http://www.downsizedc.org/rtba_legislation_p.html and the One Subject at a Time Act http://www.downsizedc.org/osta-legislation_p.shtml introduced and passed. At one time, every bill had to be read aloud in the House and Senate, and heard and understood by the members. Then, as the House and Senate gained power, they unilaterally decided that that required them to actually work for their pay! So, they passed a law that they only had to listen to the title of a bill and vote on it. Their staff could skim over it and make a recommendation, based on what the lobbyists told them. Remember, the House and Senate are only in session about three days a week, for just a few months a year. The rest of their time is taken up campaigning and fund raising for the next election only four years away, when not going on junkets to see how somebody else does something on the Rivera or Bali or wherever.
The Read the Bills Act says that members shall be present for the complete reading of all bills in open house. The bills will be available on line for constituents to review before they come up for a vote. All votes will be roll call votes so the constituents will be able to see how their representatives voted. The legislators will have to certify under penalty of perjury that they have read and understood the bill before voting on it.
The One Subject at a Time Act will restrict bills to just one subject. No pork, no attachments. A federal financing bill will consist of federal financing; no unpopular dam projects, no big oil giveaways, no multi-million dollar bridges to nowhere. An education bill will address education, not have enhanced Homeland Security powers buried in it. Any amendments to the bill have to deal with the bill, and only the bill.
Again, this will have two salutary effects. 1. As above, the bills will be shorter and more understandable. 2. It will force pork and underhanded legislation to stand alone, to be subject to evaluation on its own merits (or lack thereof). There are billions of dollars given away every year, and hundreds of pieces of draconian, special interest and restrictive legislation passed each year by being hidden in these unread, five or six hundred page bills that are routinely approved by the House and Senate. These are things that would never be passed if they were considered in the light of day. Many would not even be brought up if they were to be seen.
What do We the People do about this? Well, going back to the start of this article, we had better get on the horn and let our alleged representatives know that we want no compromise, or surrender, to Cheney/Bush about ending the war. No money without a deadline for bringing the troops home, the money to be used for that purpose. If Bush wants to veto money for running the government, so be it. Congress can just keep passing a finance bill and let Cheney/Bush keep explaining how they would rather have the government go broke than not get their way about their illegal wars. Perhaps that would awaken some of the American Sheeple.
The second thing we can do is start insisting that our alleged representatives introduce the Read the Bills Act and the One Subject at a Time Act, read them over carefully, then enact them and bring some accountability back to the House and Senate and our alleged representatives. Perhaps then, we could strike out the “alleged” and consider them to be actual representatives.
That would give us a gigantic step “backwards” to when we actually had a representative government, elected by We the People and responsive to Us. Something we all look forward to, I’m sure.