We all remember when Nancy Pelosi said that we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it. She was trying to ram through Obamacare. What idiot would vote for such a gigantic bill without even knowing what was in it? Actually, that’s fairly standard operating procedure in Washington.
Back when Ron Paul was still in Congress, he’d automatically vote against any bill that he or his staff didn’t have time to read, on the basis that he didn’t know what was in it. No one could possibly read through and understand thousands of pages of legalese in a matter of hours. But when there’s money and power connections involved, the content of the bill is completely irrelevant. The point is to just pass it as immediately as possible.
The recent $1.1 trillion budget just got passed, and not surprisingly, no one read it. How could they have? It was 1,582 pages. CNS News reported:
The bill will fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal 2014, which ends on Sept. 30, 2014. Sixty-four Republicans and only three Democrats voted against the legislation. The final vote was 359-67. The legislation was strongly opposed by Tea Party elements in the GOP and in the public at large. As CNSNews.com has reported, the bill “increases agency budgets by $26 billion over last year’s total,” and “[n]ot only does the bill increase discretionary spending, it is also $45 billion more than the sequester [cuts] would have allowed.”
When asked by a CNS News reporter if they had read the bill that they voted for, the Democrat reps acted like it was a stupid question. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat Representative from Oregon, laughed at the question and said, “Nobody did!” Hey, if no one else read it, why should he?
Democrat Representative Gerald Connelly from Virginia remarked, “I’m not going to dignify that question with an answer.” He doesn’t want to “dignify” it with an answer, because he has no answer. He has no excuse.
A Republican rep was asked the same question, and he admitted that he personally had not read the bill, but that he voted against it based on a few pages that he had read.
Senator Rand Paul introduced a bill last November called the “Read the Bills Act.” Under the bill, representatives would have to “sign an affidavit indicating they’ve read the bill or heard it read to them before voting for the bill. Courts would be prohibited from enforcing laws that didn’t meet this requirement.”
It just doesn’t seem like it’s asking all that much to expect our elected representatives to at least read and understand bills before they vote on them. This would mean that the bills would be far shorter than thousands of pages. And they’d likely have to be clearer. Is that such a bad thing?