October 4, 2006
What Congress inserted
By Jim Babka
Congress passed a lot of legislation at the last minute before adjourning. We highly doubt they read any of it.

There was no waiting period to give them time to read the bills, even if they had wanted to know what they were passing.

Bad stuff was inserted and combined with completely unrelated material. Most in Congress had no idea what they were voting for, and we are only just now learning the details of much of it. Here's one example . . .

Senator Bill Frist attached a ban on Internet gambling to a bill about Port Security -- Port Security!!!

The gambling bill prohibits banks and other money transfer services from submitting payments to online gambling sites. Clearly, this has nothing to do with Port Security, but no one was going to vote against a Port Security bill, no matter what other provisions it contained.

There was no debate, and the Internet gambling bill became law. The American people were "logrolled."

Who benefits? Brick and mortar casinos benefit, by using government coercion to eliminate competition.

This is the same industry for which Jack Abramoff was working. But the Abramoff scandal has done nothing to deter the relentless march of "corporate welfare" in Congress.

Why should it? Congress has little to fear. Congress has rigged the electoral process to protect themselves from risk.

This must change. We must teach Congress fear. This shouldn't be too hard, because politicians are a timid lot by nature, but it will require relentless and growing effort. The time to strike the next blow is now.

Congress is out campaigning, but their offices are still open. They're still receiving reports on what they're constituents are thinking. Let's make them nervous.

They won't like hearing that people know about their last minute tricks and their slavish loyalty to powerful corporate interests. They won't like hearing that voters are upset.

It really doesn't matter how you feel about gambling. What does matter is the following . . .

* One business (casinos) shouldn't be able to use government coercion to harm another business
* Congress shouldn't be able to combine unrelated bills at the last minute
* There should be a waiting period before a bill can be passed
* Congress should have to read every word of every bill
* And no bill passed in violation of these requirements should have the force of law

Now, there are some in the blogosphere who are confused about this. They think the "Read the Bills Act" can't be enforced. But that's only because they haven't READ the "Read the Bills Act." The "Read the Bills Act" can be enforced because no bill passed in demonstrable violation of its provisions can be enforced in a court of law.

It's time to hit Congress about RTBA again. Tell them you know the Internet gambling ban was attached to a Port Security bill at the last minute. Tell them you know none of this legislation was read. Tell them you want a waiting period before votes can be held, to prevent tricks like this.

Politely express your anger and disgust. So far we've sent 51,021 messages to Congress about RTBA. Let's make that number soar today. You can send your message here.

Then, pass this message along to friends.

And stop off here to make a contribution to our growing effort.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.
Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, RTBA
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