June 2, 2009
Common Sense
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day:  "Students of American history will recall that the important place where work gets done in the legislative body, almost without exception, is in the committees, more so than on the floor although sometimes more attention is paid to the floor." - Paul Sarbanes

Subject: Common sense

Each year the Iraq-Afghanistan spending bill comes loaded with extras that remind us how much we need the One Subject At A Time Act.

Because few in Congress will vote against a bill that "supports the troops," this bill provides an opportunity for legislative abuse . . .

The House and Senate conference committee will soon meet to work out differences in this year's bill. It is unknown what tricks they'll have up their sleeve, but the bill, H.R. 2346, is already bad enough. In addition to funding the wars, there is money for the BATFE, federal prisons, foreign aid, the War on Drugs, forest fire management, and other programs. The total price tag is over $900 per family.

Downsize DC's proposed One Subject At A Time Act (OSTA) would prevent the bundling of these different topics into one bill. Instead, each subject would be voted on as a separate bill. Necessary bills will still pass, but unpopular measures won't. The country would be spared the cost of programs most members of Congress didn't want in the first place.

If members of Congress had common sense, they would actually want to live under OSTA's constraints. Then they could vote for a reasonable and necessary bill without being forced to accept unnecessary, unrelated provisions. Whether the U.S. should fight these wars, and whether the federal government should provide more money for wildland fire management, are two completely unrelated questions. Members of Congress who support one but oppose the other shouldn't be forced to either accept both or reject both.

Demand common sense from Congress. Tell them to pass the One Subject At A Time Act. In your personal comments . . .

  • tell them you object to the price tag of H.R. 2346, the Supplemental Approriations Act
  • demand that it be broken up into different bills by department and subject
  • insist that they oppose any backroom deals in the conference committee that will make the bill even worse

Our goal is to hit Congress with more than 36,512 messages this month. We would like to send at least 1,710 today. You can send your message at's "One Subject at a Time" campaign page.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army. To see how we're growing, check out our Keeping Score section under my signature.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President


We grew by 38 net new members yesterday, which brings us to 1,117 net new members for the year. The Downsize DC Army now stands at 25,466 -- nearly 47% of the way from 25,000 to 26,000!

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