April 5, 2010
Pelosi claimed they had to pass the bill so they could find out what was in it
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, twelve days before the healthcare vote

Well, they passed the healthcare bill, and now we're starting to know what was in it. The main features were bad enough, but members of Congress also used the bill to advance their petty agendas, making it even worse (see the sample letter to Congress below).

The Read the Bills Act (RTBA) would have rooted out this nonsense, in advance. Please send a letter to Congress demanding that they introduce and pass's RTBA.

You may borrow or copy from this letter . . .

The healthcare bill was supposedly a well-intentioned effort to control costs. But now we know it was really about a Congress full of know-it-all busy-bodies who think they're better qualified to raise our families, run our businesses, and make our decisions.

In addition to the individual mandate and insurance regulations, the bill . . .

* funds abstinence education and provides counseling for pregnant teens - a federal takeover of "family values"
* disallows the use of Flexible Spending Accounts to purchase over-the-counter medications - which will discourage these purchases and prolong illnesses
* forces companies to allow regular breaks and furnish special areas for breast-feeding employees - a labor issue, not a government issue
* forces restaurant chains to publish calorie counts of menu items - an unconstitutional law (buying a Big Mac is not "interstate commerce")
* imposes a steep tax on indoor tanning - which will likely close businesses and destroy jobs in a struggling economy

My questions for you are . . .

1. Did you know of these provisions when the healthcare bill came to a vote?
2. If these provisions were instead separate, stand-alone bills, would you have voted for any of them?

If's Read the Bills Act was in force . . .

* all bills would be as brief as possible, discouraging the inclusion of tangential or unrelated provisions
* you would have been required to know all of the contents of the bill before you voted for it
* you would have had enough time and opportunity to amend the bill and root out harmful provisions
* the public would have had at least seven days to review final bills and provide feedback

Supporters of the healthcare bill should welcome the Read the Bills Act because it would have improved the the bill. And opponents of the healthcare bill should now realize how the RTBA would give them more time and opportunity to expose and oppose hidden provisions of bad legislation.

There are no more excuses. Introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act.


You can send your letter through's Educate the Powerful System.

We also invite you to add your blog or website to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. By joining, you help to spread awareness about the Read the Bills Act. In return, your site will be linked on our blog and be listed in a Downsizer-Dispatch with more than 29,500 readers. You can learn more and join the Coalition here.

Today we welcome one member to the Coalition:

* The "Kick Them All Out" Project

And finally, we have separate blog posts for bills Congress passed by month:

* January
* February
* March

James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director

Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, RTBA
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