Passing the Bill on Reading the Bills

Do you ever find yourself unpacking an appliance and trying to make it work before you actually read the instructional manual? Well Congress is a lot like that, except instead of burning down their house that way, they burn down your house.

“We have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it…” Nancy Pelosi famously told her colleagues. And like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, we still keep discovering all the amazing things that are in it. Like affirmative action and taxes on companies that make medical devices.

The peculiar notion that politicians should know what they are voting before it explodes across the landscape with devastating consequences for everyone is still regarded as unfashionable in those hallowed legislative halls. Here’s one proposal from Senator Rand Paul for what would become “S.3360 : Read the Bills Act

    (b) Affidavit-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- Before voting in favor of final passage of any bill (except a private bill) or resolution, a Member of the Senate and a Member of the House of Representatives shall sign an affidavit executed under penalty of perjury as provided in section 1621 of title 18, United States Code, that the Member either–
        `(A) was present throughout the entire reading of each such bill or resolution, and listened attentively to such reading in its entirety;
          `(B) prior to voting for passage of such bill, read attentively each such bill in its entirety; or
        `(C) some combination of clause (i) or (ii).

The bill never found another sponsor and was last seen being sent to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration where no one read it, because they were too busy not reading so many of the other bills being passed.

  • jemaasjr

    kind of a dumb idea, actually. Regrettably our Congress passes so much stuff that I doubt they even could read it all. The usual work around is staff. Unfortunately with Obamacare, they pushed it through so fast that even the staff did not get into reading it. But you can not fix stupid with even more stupid.

    • Marylou

      "Regrettably our Congress passes so much stuff that I doubt they even could read it all."

      Maybe that's why our country is in so much trouble.

    • curmudgeon

      you seem to be confused about what is stupid and what is even more stupid. stupid was the obamacare bill. more stupid was passing it. monumentally stupid was admitting that it was passed after noone read it. breathtakingly stupid was bragging about passing it to find out what is in it. the stupidest thing possible is that the congresscriminals who passed obamacare have not been tried and sentenced to long prison terms. a bill to outlaw voting on unread legislation is the most sensible thing to be proposed in congress in a long time. that is why it was ignored.

  • http://twitter.com/USpace123 @USpace123

    This is an excellent idea, I've been thinking about such a bill ever since that twit Pelosi's statement and John Conyer's saying something like: 'Have you seen that bill (Obamacare)? It'd take two days and two lawyers to read that bill.' THEN READ'M you scumbags! Also, try writing shorter bills. We should push this bill to every congressperson out there. Twitter and Facebook. Make it go viral. People on the Left and Right and in between will want this.