DownsizeDC.org's "One Subject at a Time Act" (OSTA)

Sponsored

The "One Subject at a Time Act" (OSTA) has been introduced by Senator Rand Paul in the Senate (S. 1572) and by Representative Mia Love in the House ( H.R. 4335). OSTA currently has nearly a dozen co-sponsors in the House. See the Background page for the current list.

OSTA will make you more powerful. Most legislation aims to control you, but OSTA will control Congress. It will . . .

  • Stop Congressional leaders from passing unwanted laws by attaching them to popular, but unrelated, bills.
  • Require each bill to be about ONLY one subject, and to stand or fall entirely on its own merits.
  • [Photo of Rand Paul]
  • Make it easier for your elected officials to represent you by allowing them to vote on specific proposals, instead of on groups of bills containing divergent measures.
  • Create a de facto "line item veto" by putting only one measure under the President's pen at any one time.
  • Give you expanded influence by making bad legislation more vulnerable to public opposition.
[Photo of Mia Love]

And OSTA has been introduced in the Senate by Rand Paul and in the House by Mia Love!

You can use the form the at right whenever you're ready to ask your House Rep. and your two Senators to co-sponsor OSTA.

Here are two examples of specific bad bills that OSTA would have prevented from becoming laws . . .

EXAMPLE #1:

The REAL ID Act did something Americans have always rejected. It created a national identification system. This idea had so little support it couldn't even be brought to a vote in the Senate. But Congressional leaders got it passed anyway. They attached it to a bill Senators were afraid to oppose — the "Emergency, Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief." (May, 2005)

Senators were scared to defeat a bill that funded the troops, so the REAL ID Act became the law of the land.

If you want to end the practice of combining unrelated bills, please use the form at right to ask your elected representatives to co-sponsor OSTA.

EXAMPLE #2:

A former Senate Majority Leader believed that gambling was immoral. So he promoted a bill to outlaw online poker. But he lacked the votes to get it passed, so, mere hours before the vote, he attached his unwanted legislation to a Port Security bill that most in Congress favored. The result . . .

Online gambling was outlawed, and a whole industry was destroyed in the blink of an eye!

OSTA would prevent such outrages by requiring that . . .

  • Each bill must be only one subject.
  • The courts must view any legislation passed in violation of this requirement to be null and void. This makes OSTA uniquely powerful, because most laws and rules that aim to control Congress, including the Constitution, have no enforcement mechanism. But OSTA has an enforcement mechanism!

You can take a big step toward passing OSTA by using the form at right to ask your elected representatives to sponsor this bill.

But there's more. OSTA also has other powerful provisions . . .

Under OSTA politicians will no longer be able to hide the true subjects of their bills behind propagandistic titles such as the "PATRIOT Act," the "Protect America Act," or the "No Child Left Behind Act." No one wants to be accused of voting against patriotism, or protecting America, or of wanting to leave children behind. But none of those titles actually describes the subjects of those bills. Therefore . . .

OSTA requires that all titles describe what a bill will actually do, so that Congress and the public can know what the "one subject" is. Good examples of proper titles include those we have used for our Downsize DC Agenda proposals, which we encourage you to also investigate. In addition to the properly named "One Subject at a Time Act," we also have the "Read the Bills Act," and the "Write the Laws Act."

This is your chance. By using the form at right, you can join with tens of thousands of DC Downsizers to cause real social change. OSTA will . . .

  • Make bills shorter and easier to understand.
  • Replace propagandistic titles with descriptive names.
  • Require that all new laws are favored by a real Congressional majority.
  • Render bills that violate these requirements unenforceable.
  • Restrain the Congressional leadership.
  • Empower your elected officials to represent you responsibly.
  • Make it easier for public pressure — which you can exert through our Educate the Powerful System — to defeat bad bills.

Use the form at right to send your elected representatives a letter about this issue. It's easy! Your position . . .

  • Will be counted by each Congressional office.
  • Will educate the Congressional staffer who reads it.
  • May be passed up the chain of command.
  • May receive a reply (many DC Downsizers get them). If you receive such a letter, please share it with us at Comments@DownsizeDC.org.

What's left to say? Do you wonder how we'll get OSTA passed? The next step depends on what you do now . . .

Many members of Congress will like OSTA, because they dislike voting for packaged bills. But OSTA may not come to their attention unless you send them a letter using the form at right.

Some members of Congress become co-sponsors, because they hear about the praise other co-sponsors have received. The Downsize DC Army is responsible for this, but the only way you can join the Downsize DC Army is by sending a letter to Congress using the form at right.

Some members of Congress will only do the right thing if they're pressured to do it. You may feel like your voice has no influence. You're wrong. No one snowflake can make an avalanche, but every avalanche is made up of nothing but snowflakes. If you want Congress to feel an avalanche of pressure, then you must be an active snowflake and do your small part. It will only take a few keyboard strokes and mouse clicks using the form at right.

Use the form at right to send your elected representatives a letter about this issue. It's easy!

  • Your position will be counted by each Congressional office,
  • Will educate the Congressional staffer who reads it,
  • May be passed up the chain of command,
  • May receive a reply (many DC Downsizers get them). If you receive such a letter, please share it with us at Comments@DownsizeDC.org.

Send a letter to Congress

We provide the first few words of the letter so that Congressional offices will see the most important point right at the start, and so that no one can hijack our system for another purpose. Here's the part we provide . . .

I want my representatives to co-sponsor Downsize DC's "One Subject at a Time Act" in the House (HR 4335) and the Senate (S. 1572).
   
Your ZIP Code is required so we can direct your letter to your representatives in Congress.