Is Congress doing its job?
On paper, they sure look busy. Over the week of July 9-14 the House passed 14 bills totaling 663 pages. The Senate passed 3 bills that came to 498 pages. (A complete list of the Bills Congress passed, along with links to roll call votes, is available at the end of this post, below my signature.)
One bill in particular stands out. On July 11, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Administration Act (you read that correctly), which ran to an astonishing 308 pages. Health freedom advocates warn that this bill will turn the FDA into a public-private partnership with the ability to develop and patent drugs on its own. They further warn this bill will jeopardize our access to vitamins and other nutritional supplements that compete with Big Pharma.
But only forty minutes were allowed for debate, and amendments could not be proposed or considered. Instead of questioning this process, Congress rubber-stamped the bill with only 16 votes against it.
How many of the 403 who voted "yea" blindly followed the advice of lobbyists and Congressional leaders? How many then patted themselves on the back for "protecting" the American people from supposedly "dangerous" foods?
How many, if they actually read the bill, would have been appalled by some of the provisions, and demanded full debate and amendments? How many would have worked to defeat the bill?
We'll never know, because right now members of Congress aren't even required to read and understand the bills they pass
. But when they rubber-stamps bills, they're not representing us. They may look busy, but they're not actually doing the job they were elected to do.
We can change this. We can force Congress to pass the Read the Bills Act and make them do their job. You can learn more about the Read the Bills Act here.
And you can tell your Congressman and Senators to introduce the Read the Bills Act here.
And finally, you can help us spread the word by joining the Read the Bills Act Coalition. When you join, we will link to your website from our blog. Details are here.
Thank-you for being a DC Downsizer.
Assistant to the President
The following are the bills the House and Senate passed last week. The bills were passed by voice vote except where indicated. For roll call votes, you can click the link to see how individual members of Congress voted. The descriptions of bills are essentially verbatim from the Congressional Record Daily Digest. Page numbers of bills are based on the pdf display of the latest version from the Government Printing Office.
H.R. 359 - Cesar Estrada Chavez Study Act, To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the life of Cesar Estrada Chavez and the farm labor movement. - 4 pages
H.R. 2121 - To modify a land grant patent issued by the Secretary of the Interior - 4 pages
H.R. 2381 - Upper Mississippi River Basin Protection Act - 12 pages
H.R. 1725 - Rancho California Water District Recycled Water Reclamation Facility Act of 2007 - 4 pages
H.R. 1904 - New Mexico Water Planning Assistance Act - 6 pages
H.R. 556 - National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act (Passed 370-45
) - 15 pages
H.R. 660 - Court Security Improvement Act of 2007 - 26 pages
H.R. 1979 - To require any Federal or State court to recognize any notarization made by a notary public licensed by a State other than the State where the court is located when such notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce - 4 pages
S. 1701 - A bill to provide for the extension of transitional medical assistance (TMA) and the abstinence education program through the end of fiscal year 2007 (Passed 291-126
) - 2 pages
H.R. 2669 - College Cost Reduction Act (Passed 273-149
) - 128 pages
H.R. 2608 - SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act - 14 pages
H.R. 2900 - Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (Passed 403-16
) - 308 pages
H.R. 2956-Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act (Passed 223-201
) - 8 pages
H.R. 1851-Section 8 Voucher [Housing] Reform Act (Passed 333-83
) - 128 pages
H.R. 1 - Improving America's Security Act of 2007 (implementing 9/11 Commission recommendations) - 485 pages
H.R. 710 - Charlie W. Norwood Living Organ Donation Act, to amend the National Organ Transplant Act to provide that criminal penalties do not apply to paired donations of human kidneys - 5 pages
S. 975 - Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact - 8 pages