76 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 26 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
OpEdNews Op Eds   

It is Way Past Time to End Sneaky Legislation: Abolish the "Rider" and Non-Relevant Amendments

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Message Stephen Osborn
ONCE again, it is necessary to call upon We the People to correct a deadly error in legislative practices. Everyone has heard of "riders" on bills and, of course, amendments are common. Politicians love both of them because it forces pork barrel appropriations and truly bad legislation into law. As an example, last year, an amendment was tacked onto an emergency funding bill for Katrina aid. The amendment gave Bush still more dictatorial powers in the event of another disaster, natural or man made. Did that belong in an emergency funding bill? NO!

Here is how the process works. Let's say that a representative comes up with a bill that solves the problem of Social Security funding. It is a perfect solution and worthy of a "yes" vote by every member of the government. So, Congressman or Senator Joe Blow attaches a rider to the bill that gives his state a multimillion-dollar defense contract, and Mary Smurf attaches a rider that authorizes the construction of a dam that will cost millions, and flood several thousand square miles of farmland and Native American sacred ground. Aaron Crudworth attaches an amendment that allows the President to bypass any congressional oversight on judicial appointments.

Now this perfect bill comes up for a vote. Those that vote for it are real heroes! Those that vote against it are probably not going to be re-elected. However, all that junk added on to it also becomes law, so those that oppose the destructive dam, or won't vote to give the President even more power, or those that don't want to see the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Complex become more powerful have to vote against it, and are tarred with the brush of being anti-Social Security.

The above is an oversimplification, of course, but illustrates the problem. This has been going on for far too many years, but it is becoming ever more blatant and destructive.

What has to be done to stop these bandits in their tracks is for We the People to mount an offensive of letters, calls, visits, etc., as intensive, or even more intensive, as the one to end the occupation of Iraq...or to impeach the White House Gang. We have to insist that all bills introduced have to be single-purpose bills, to be debated and voted on for that purpose. All non-relevant amendments and all riders will not be allowed to be attached to any bill. I, recently, got a letter from one of my senators, bewailing the fact that she had to vote for a disastrous program because it was attached to a "must-pass" budget bill! Budget bills, especially the end-of-the-year emergency bills, collect riders like cow flops collect flies, because if they can stick them on, they are a shoo-in. The budget must be passed!

This should not be a problem...and would not be if the process was banned.

It will have to be initiated by We the People, because "They the Congress" would rather have a place to hang their pork and hide their lousy legislation where the people won't see it.

I'm not a politician and I don't know how to start a movement, but if we could get this one going, many of our governmental ills would be cured. Any legislation should be single issue, debated as such and voted upon as such. If you want a pork barrel project, introduce a bill for it and let it be openly debated and voted on. Don't be allowed to hide it in a child care or education appropriations bill.
Rate It | View Ratings

Stephen Osborn Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Biobyte: Stephen M. Osborn is a freelance writer living on Camano Island in the Pacific Northwest. He is a columnist for the Populist Party website and has had a number of articles published internationally. He is an "Atomic Vet." (Operation (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Pax Romana

"It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes," Joseph Stalin

What is next in the Obamanation?

Remember the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

An Open Letter to President-elect Obama

Someone In the Halls of Government Stole Diogenes' Lamp

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend