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”
`(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.