Downsize DC’s “Read the Bills Act” (RTBA)



RTBA will force Congress to read the laws they pass.

RTBA requires… width=

  • Every bill to be read before a quorum in both chambers (House and Senate)
  • A sworn affidavit from each member who wants to vote YES on a bill stating that he or she has read every word of that bill.
  • Each bill to be posted on the Internet for 7-days before the vote so that citizens will have time to read and comment too.

You can read the text of RTBA here.

The quorum requirement will… width=

  • Make it easier for members to honor the reading requirement.
  • Create an incentive for shorter, more focused bills, so that members can endure the reading.

RTBA also ensures that amendments are clear

It will no longer suffice for bills to have language that reads like this…

“Section 415 (21 U.S.C. 350d) is amended in subsection (a)(2), by inserting after the first sentence the following:…”

Every amendment must quote the existing text that will be changed, and the new text that will replace it. This will make it easier to read the bill, for both Congress and the public.


 width=RTBA has a powerful enforcement mechanism. 

RTBA is a law, not a mere rule. The evidence is overwhelming that Congress ignores its own rules. We also need a law because…

  • Congressional rules can’t be enforced by the courts.
  • Properly written laws can be.

That’s why RTBA contains the following enforcement mechanism…

Citizens can defend themselves against any “law” passed in violation of RTBA. The judge is required to dismiss the case with impunity. No Congressional rule can be enforced in this way. Only a law can give citizens this kind of protection.

You can read the text of RTBA here.

Use the form at right to tell your reps to sponsor Downsize DC’s “Read the Bills Act” (RTBA).

 width=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

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