Quotes of the Day:
"I would ask the Democratic leadership to guarantee that such a bill will not be brought to the floor of the House unless there have been public hearings in the appropriate committees, the entire text has been available online for the American people to review for at least one week, and it includes no special-interest earmarks." -- House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.
"I think the notion of a stimulus package online for a week before its voted on is just delightful. I mean, these bills are normally written in the dead of night with all kinds of things getting in them. ... Any big bill, I mean nobody usually knows what's in it at all when they're voting on it. That would be real change." -- Cokie Roberts, "This Week" roundtable on ABC, January 4, 2009 (-8:35 mark)
Subject: What Cokie Said
Two weeks ago Congressional Democrats wanted to pass an "economic stimulus" bill in time for President Obama to sign it on his first day in office. But now that the stimulus proposals are being criticized from all sides, Democrats are hoping to get something passed by the mid-February recess.
Meanwhile, Republican leaders are insisting on hearings and a real debate about the bill. They're also demanding that the bill be posted on-line for seven days before the vote.
They got it from you. From your many messages to Congress about the Read the Bills Act.
The fact that the Republicans are borrowing from our playbook is a sign that the Read the Bills Act (RTBA) is on their minds. Please recognize that this is because of your work. What you do matters. It makes a difference.
Please also notice that our proposals can draw a positive response from the media. They know how Washington works, and doesn't work, and they can see how our ideas could fix some of the things that don't work.
As Cokie Roberts said, many big bills are "written in the dead of night with all kinds of things getting in them," and "nobody knows what's in it at all when they're voting on it."
Last fall's Big Bailout was like that. This "stimulus" bill, which will add a trillion dollars to the national debt, could be an even bigger rip-off.
So it's not unreasonable to insist that the public knows where the money will go before the bill is passed. But instead of creating special rules for the stimulus bill, Congress should go one step better . . .
Please tell your Representative and your two Senators to introduce and pass the Read the Bills Act NOW. In your comments, tell them what Cokie said. Tell them they will have failed to represent you if they do not read every word of the stimulus bill before voting on it, and post it on the Internet for 7 days before the vote, so citizens and the media can read it too. You can use our quick and easy Educate the Powerful system to send your message.
Also, please consider adding your blog or website to the Read the Bills Act Coalition. Membership can bring you increased traffic and increased awareness of the RTBA. For details on joining, go here.
Over the past month we welcomed five new members to the Coalition:
Thank-you for being part of the growing Downsize DC army.
Assistant to the President
P.S. Newcomers to the Dispatch may jump to the conclusion that Downsize DC is anti-Obama and pro-GOP. This isn't true. Throughout the Bush years, we called on Democrats to be a real opposition party and oppose Bush's wars, attacks on civil liberties, and big-spending ways. We called on them to fix Congress and restrain the government. That we now call on Republicans to oppose Obama's "Upsize DC" agenda is not partisanship, it's consistency.
P.P.S. Not all new office holders have Internet contact pages yet. We're updating our system as the new contact pages come on line. Your message will go through to any of your representatives that remain the same, or for which we've received new information. Don't let this transition slow you down. Your message will get through to someone. It will make a difference. Take action!