Sunday, November 28, 2004

Don't blame me, I did not read the bill I voted for...

Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) writes in the Washington Post about something that has always bothered me. He is expressing support for measures that will "encourage" Congress-members to read the legislation before they vote on it.

Last Saturday both the House and Senate voted to give the Appropriations Committee chairmen and their staff unrestricted access to the income tax returns of ordinary Americans. This extraordinary opportunity for privacy invasion does not have the majority support of either chamber, and the embarrassed Republican leadership quickly vowed to remove it.

But how did this dangerous provision pass Congress in the first place? The answer is simple: Members didn't have enough time to read the bill.


To prevent such abuses, House rules for the 109th Congress should insist that members have a minimum of three days to read legislation before voting and, further, that any waiver of this requirement require a two-thirds vote of the full House.

I think they should go further. Why not have one mandatory day of reading time for every 100 pages? If it slows them down from adding more and more laws on top of the existing pile, I will not complain.

Don't even get me started on requiring them to do their own taxes.


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