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'Read the Bills Act' Creators Urge Congress to Pass a 'Worthless' Rule

• PR Newswire
 AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- DownsizeDC.org, the creators of the Read the Bills Act, which inspired a movement, say that a proposed 72-hour rule, permitting the public to see legislation before Congress votes, is "worthless." But they want the rule, H.Res. 554, passed anyway. Why? "It will pave the way for our Read the Bills Act," declared Jim Babka, President of DownsizeDC.org. DownsizeDC.org created its "Read the Bills Act" (RTBA) in 2005. Constituents have bombarded their representatives in Congress with a quarter-million letters supporting RTBA. Babka has also presented it to beltway groups. "Public pressure and beltway presentations are what led the Republicans to pick-up 'reading the bills' as a talking point. But when the people witness how worthless their approach is, demands to pass our RTBA will increase." H.Res. 554 makes cosmetic changes to House rules. House members are already supposed to receive readable copies of bills three days before a vote, but this requirement is often ignored. H.Res. 554 changes that time requirement from 3 days to... 72 hours. It also requires that the public gets the bill at the same time. Babka likes this real change, however... "It's only a rule; not a law. So it can be waived in many instances, and doesn't apply in others. There's no enforcement mechanism to penalize Congress when they violate their rules, and three days isn't nearly enough time to read the monster-sized bills Congress routinely passes." DownsizeDC.org's RTBA cannot be waived and requires Congress to... * Read the entire bill out-loud before a quorum * Post all bills on the Internet for seven days before voting DC Downsizers wonder, "If ignorance of the law is no defense for citizens, should such ignorance be permitted to Congress?" That's why RTBA also provides citizens with a solid legal defense against laws passed in violation of these requirements. Babka concluded, "The 72-hour rule is insufficient to prevent Congress from doing too much, too fast, with too little understanding. But it moves in the right direction, and its inadequacy will show why we need the REAL Read the Bills Act." H.Res. 554 has 180 co-sponsors in the House. A discharge petition to force it to a vote has 182 of 218 signatures needed. SOURCE DownsizeDC.org Jim Babka, DownsizeDC.org, +1-703-236-5202, PressRoom@DownsizeDC

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