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December 13, 2007

Four Quick Reasons

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

Why do we need the Read the Bills Act?

Here are four quick reasons, found on the Web.

First, we need the Read the Bills Act to keep Congress accountable for their poor votes. Here’s an illustration from a Democratic Presidential debate last month:

“Kucinich demanded the candidates take responsibility for their votes on NAFTA and Chinese trade, along with the Iraq War. When Wolf Blitzer remarked that Kucinich was the only one who voted against the Patriot Act, Kucinich came back with, ‘I was the only one who read it.’” – KCRG.com


Second, the RTBA will force openness in the legislative process:

“Current congressional rules require that bills be available to be read for at least three days before coming to a vote. But those rules can be overridden by the majority party leadership. Many times this leaves only a few hours to read bills that are thousands of pages in length and spend billions of taxpayer dollars. This happens all the time. – purple minded

Third, because last week the House passed 21 bills totaling  1389 pages, and the Senate passed 8 bills coming to 129  pages. As one RTBA supporter tells it, 

“The idea is to slow Congress down,” – Steven McDuffie, quoted from GJSentinel.com

(Note: the list of bills Congress passed last week is found at the bottom of this Dispatch.)

Fourth, because we simply want to make sure members of Congress know what they’re doing:

“We have allowed our representatives to vote on and pass laws that they don’t understand for too long. I urge you to write your representatives and ask them to support and/or sponsor this bill. DownsizeDC has a very nice system where you can register and they will automatically send your message to your representatives based on your address. They have a standard message they send and you can add your own personal message as well.”  – Jeff, War Inside My Head blog

Please give Congress these four reasons to pass the Read the Bills Act. As Jeff says, we have a “very nice system” for you to do just that, found here.

And consider adding your blog or website to our Read the Bills Act Coalition. By promoting the Read the Bills Act, you will also be promoting your site. For details, click here.

Today we welcome two new members to the Coaltion:

Live Free or Here

independent thought

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President
DownsizeDC.org

The following are the bills the House and Senate passed last week. The bills were passed by voice vote except where indicated. Roll call votes for the House are found here, and for the Senate here. The descriptions of bills are essentially taken verbatim from the Congressional Record Daily Digest. Page numbers of bills are based on the pdf display of the latest version from the Government Printing Office.

SENATE 8 bills, 129 pages

Los Angeles to San Fernando Valley Metro Rail Project: Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs was discharged from further consideration of H.R. 238, to repeal a prohibition on the use of certain funds for tunneling in certain areas with respect to the Los Angeles to San Fernando Valley Metro Rail project, California. 4 pages

United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act: By 77 yeas to 18 nays (Vote No. 413), Senate passed H.R. 3688, to implement the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, clearing the measure for the President. 95 pages

Temporary District Court Judgeships: Senate passed S. 1327, to create and extend certain temporary district court judgeships. 4 pages

Emergency and Disaster Assistance Fraud Penalty Enhancement Act: Senate passed S. 863, to amend title 18, United States Code, with respect to fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency funds. 8 pages

Temporary Tax Relief Act: By 88 yeas to 5 nays (Vote No. 415), Senate passed H.R. 3996, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend alternative minimum tax relief. 3 pages

Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund: Senate passed H.R. 4118, to exclude from gross income payments from the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to the victims of the tragic event at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages

Emancipation Hall: Senate passed H.R. 3315, to provide that the great hall of the Capitol Visitor Center shall be known as Emancipation Hall, clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages

Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 Temporary Extension: Senate passed H.R. 4252, to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 through May 23, 2008, clearing the measure for the President. 4 pages

HOUSE 21 bills, 1389 pages

America’s Historical and Natural Legacy Study Act: H.R. 3998, amended, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct special resources studies of certain lands and structures to determine the appropriate means for preservation, use, and management of the resources associated with such lands and structures, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 326 yeas to 79 nays, Roll No. 1123; 18 pages

Validating certain conveyances made by the Union Pacific Railroad Company of lands located in Reno, Nevada, that were originally conveyed by the United States to facilitate construction of transcontinental railroads: H.R. 2246, amended, to validate certain conveyances made by the Union Pacific Railroad Company of lands located in Reno, Nevada, that were originally conveyed by the United States to facilitate construction of transcontinental railroads; 4 pages

Amending the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978 to authorize improvements for the security of dams and other facilities: H.R. 1662, amended, to amend the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978 to authorize improvements for the security of dams and other facilities; 6 pages

William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007: H.R. 3887, amended, to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2008 through 2011 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and to enhance measures to combat forced labor, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 405 yeas to 2 nays, Roll No. 1124. 134 pages

Excluding from gross income payments from the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to the victims of the tragic event, loss of life and limb, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University: H.R. 4118, amended, to exclude from gross income payments from the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to the victims of the tragic event, loss of life and limb, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. 4 pages

North Bay Water Reuse Program Act of 2007: H.R. 236, amended, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to create a Bureau of Reclamation partnership with the North Bay Water Reuse Authority and other regional partners to achieve objectives relating to water supply, water quality, and environmental restoration, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 358 yeas to 55 nays, Roll No. 1130. 8 pages

Including all banking agencies within the existing regulatory authority under the Federal Trade Commission Act with respect to depository institutions: H.R. 3526, amended, to include all banking agencies within the existing regulatory authority under the Federal Trade Commission Act with respect to depository institutions; 6 pages

Preserving and Expanding Minority Depository Institutions Act: H.R. 4043, amended, to amend the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 to preserve and expand minority depository institutions; 4 pages

Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act of 2007: H.R. 2930, amended, to amend section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959 to improve the program under such section for supportive housing for the elderly; 22 pages

Amending the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make technical corrections: S. 2371, amended, to D1577amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make technical corrections; 3 pages

Protecting Our Children Comes First Act of 2007: H.R. 2517, amended, to amend the Missing Children Assistance Act to authorize appropriations, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 408 yeas to 3 nays, Roll No. 1132. 10 pages

Securing Adolescents From Exploitation–Online Act of 2007: H.R. 3791, amended, to modernize and expand the reporting requirements relating to child pornography and to expand cooperation in combating child pornography, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 409 yeas to 2 nays, Roll No. 1131; 18 pages

Managing Arson Through Criminal History (MATCH) Act of 2007: H.R. 1759, amended, to establish guidelines and incentives for States to establish arsonist registries and to require the Attorney General to establish a national arsonist registry and notification program; 30 pages

Genocide Accountability Act of 2007: S. 888, to amend section 1091 of title 18, United States Code, to allow the prosecution of genocide in appropriate circumstances–clearing the measure for the President; 2 pages

U.S. Capitol Police and Library of Congress Police Merger Implementation Act of 2007: H.R. 3690, amended, to provide for the transfer of the Library of Congress police to the United States Capitol Police; 23 pages

Providing for the reappointment of Patricia Q. Stonesifer as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution: S. J. Res. 8, to provide for the reappointment of Patricia Q. Stonesifer as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution–clearing the measure for the President; 1 page

Providing for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 through May 23, 2008: H.R. 4252, to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 through May 23, 2008. 4 pages

Securities Law Technical Corrections Act of 2007: H.R. 3505, amended, to make various technical and clerical amendments to the Federal securities laws, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 404 yeas with none voting “nay”, Roll No. 1135. 12 pages

Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act of 2007: H.R. 4253, to improve and expand small business assistance programs for veterans of the armed forces and military reservists, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 407 yeas to 2 nays, Roll No. 1138. 34 pages

Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007: The House agreed to the Senate amendments with amendments, made in order by the rule and printed in H. Rept. 110-474, to H.R. 6, to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers from price gouging, to increase the energy efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, by a yea-and-nay vote of 235 yeas to 181 nays, Roll No. 1140. 1038 pages

McGee Creek Project Pipeline and Associated Facilities Conveyance Act: H.R. 2085, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey to the McGee Creek Authority certain facilities of the McGee Creek Project, Oklahoma, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 373 yeas with none voting “nay”, Roll No. 1141. 8 pages

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