Diary

A Modest (non-Swiftian) Proposal concerning passing of a bill.

Why not simply have it written into the Congressional rules the manditory reading of a bill by a voting Congressional member personally, before PASSing (but not REJECTing) that bill?

Imagine how much less seriously the Declaration of Independence would have been taken if Delegates from all over the colonies hadn’t put their “John Hancock” on it.  Or, if some of the delegates could later claim that they never acutally saw or read the document.  It’s kinda tough to do that when you sign something.

I suggest PASS only, not REJECT, for a number of reasons.

Passing bills would be hard work.  Rejecting bills would be a snap.  There’s a check right there.

Minority parties would be able to avoid beng saddled by the overwheming flurry of paperwork, generated by a party with a voting majority.  They could spend time on bills that they could circulate to the majority, if they wanted.

Congressional members would not be able to claim that they didn’t know what was in a bill they helped pass.  Members would be able to reject a bill on the grounds of any part of the bill that they read.  In both instances, Congressmen could be held to account for their decision.

Bills would tend to be reasonably concise if a sponsoring member of Congress wished to have it read, and passed.

Bills would become less likely to be stuffed with earmarks. 

Line-item vetos would become less necessary (and less of a coveted power by the President) where bills, in order to keep unrelated subjects concise and separate, were broken down into unique, individual, but whole concepts.

Bills would have to be more holistically constructed from the onset of the debate process.  Members would have to really debate its construction long before a draft was issued for consideration.

Minority parties could sign and reject a bill, and then issue a well-formed critique for the public about why a bill they couldn’t stop from being passed stunk.  Voters would respond well to such a critique from signatories, I think.

I believe a lot of this nonsense with rubber-stamping huge, unread bills would go away if this type of reform were made law in Congress.