View Full Version : Modest proposal

Osborne Russel
01-07-2006, 07:38 PM
Forgot where I heard it but it sounds good to me:

No enactment of Congress shall become law unless at least one week prior to enactment it shall have been published in full.

Or something like that. The idea would be to prevent riders where they jam some crazy thing on at the last minute.

01-07-2006, 07:49 PM
That is a pretty good idea. I would like to see a law that required each bill to be seperate as well.

01-07-2006, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by crawdaddyjim50:
That is a pretty good idea. I would like to see a law that required each bill to be seperate as well.But that would be like a line item veto then, and as such would take some power from Congress and that dog wouldn't hunt.

Bruce Hooke
01-07-2006, 10:26 PM
No, I don't think it is the same as a line item veto. I've usually heard line item vetos discussed in the context of budget bills, where it would give the President the power to veto individual budget allocations within, say, the defense budget. That is different from tacking, say, a bill about drilling in the arctic into the defense bill. However, given the difficulties of defining what is unrelated legislation (witness the argument that drilling for oil in the arctic is in fact defense related*), it seems like this idea would be hard to put into practice.

The idea of requiring time between when a bill in its final form is proposed and when it goes to a final vote does seem interesting. The challange might well be defining the milestones that require such a waiting period. It clearly does not make sense to only apply this rule to bills that have come out of conference committee, because at that point it is usually too late unless there are really egregious inclusions that cause the bill to be sent back to committee. So, then we have to talk about votes before the bill goes to the conference committee. Even here it seems like there could be challanges to implementing such an plan. You could say something like "no bill or amendment can be offered up for a vote unless it has been published for 1 week in a specified location" but the problem is that this makes it harder to respond with counter amendments or bills, or otherwise react to the changing dynamics of the debate.

Despite these difficulties, I'd bet that the House and Senate, if they wanted to, could come up with some internal rules that would address both concerns. However I don't think this is likely to happen any time soon.

*Let's not make this a debate about whether drilling the arctic is related to national defense...I just selected that as an example because it seemed like a good example of the challange I was trying to illustrate.

01-09-2006, 04:13 AM
Be nice if bills were not published as markup too.

Markup: "Replace section 3, paragraph 2, line 3 from 'may be' to 'must be'.

... and so on.

Makes it almost impossible for the average citizen to figure out WTF they're up to!