May 4, 2010
Read the Bills and the Financial Reform Bill: Can you make Congress nervous?
By James Wilson

It happens constantly. A crisis strikes, and then . . .

* Congressional leaders respond with a complicated bill
* The bill is hundreds or thousands of pages long
* It will transform the country
* Congressional leaders rush to a vote, but no one in Congress has read what they're passing . . .
* Only later do we learn all the terrible things the bill contained, many of which will pave the way for the next crisis

From the so-called Patriot Act to Obamacare, with may other bad examples in between, Congress has become addicted to passing lengthy, unread bills. They're doing it again now!

The Senate is debating a lengthy and convoluted financial "reform" bill. But no one has read it -- probably not even its sponsors!

Can you stop them from passing this bill without reading it? Probably not. You don't have enough allies yet, but . . .

You can make Congress nervous about its irresponsible conduct. Send Congress a letter ordering them to . . .

* introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act 
* hold no vote on the financial "reform" bill unless it is first read, word for word, before a quorum in both chambers
* defeat the bill when a vote is held

You may borrow or copy from this letter . . .

The financial "reform" bill is just the latest in a series of lengthy bills that underscore the need for the Read the Bills Act. This bill is scary enough as it is . . .

* it's already over 1,400 pages
* it stacks the deck in favor of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, who have endorsed the bill   
* it places onerous new regulations on community banks and retailers who had nothing to do with the financial crisis, meaning . . .
* many small business will fold and consumers will face higher prices and fewer choices

But what's worse, we don't know what back-room deals are being made. Will . . .

* there be even more special-interest favors?
* the Senate agree to giving the FTC unlimited power to regulate everything from vitamins to the Internet?
* the public have the opportunity to know what's in the bill before it's passed?

I demand that you do the following . . .

* Ask for a reading of the bill, before a quorum
* Insist that every amendment also be read publicly in the same way
* Hold off on the final vote of the bill for seven days, so that we the people can read it on the Internet and give you our opinion
* Most importantly, introduce's Read the Bills Act so that we can have a more transparent process in the future


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

We also urge you to add your blog or website to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. Membership means . . .

* your site will be listed in the RTBA coalition roster on our blog
* your site will be mentioned in a Downsizer-Dispatch like this, reaching over 29,600 readers
* you will help to promote RTBA

Find out more and join!

Finally, in April the House passed 24 bills totaling 415 pages, and the Senate passed 8 bills amounting to 40 pages. You can learn more about these bills in our monthly Congressional report.

Thanks for helping to Downsize DC!

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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