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.
Jim Babka, DownsizeDC.org, +1-703-236-5202, PressRoom@DownsizeDC