You are viewing an old blog post! That means that links will be broken, and images may be missing.

January 7, 2016

The Simplest Method to PASS the Read the Bills Act

Tens of millions of people probably agree with you that Congress should read its legislation, before they vote on it. That’s more than enough support to compel Congress to pass our “Read the Bills Act” (RTBA) — a bill sponsored by in the Senate by Rand Paul. As we described in our previous message, we’ve modeled other successful movements and organizations to determine that we could…

  • Compel Congress to pass bills like RTBA with support from as few as 3 million people (getting them co-sponsored and advanced would take even less)
  • Achieve escape velocity towards recruiting that level of support if we can recruit 100,000 people this year, with 10,000 of those being donors.

YOU probably know several people who would like our “Read the Bills Act,” if only they knew about it. Finding those people could be as simple as asking them — “Do you like the Read the Bills Act or dislike it?”

There could be reasons why you’d be reluctant to ask. Let’s talk about that. For instance…

You may have encouraged people to send a letter about Read the Bills before and wondered whether they did it or not. That lack of feedback may dampen your current desire to contact your friends again. We understand! But there’s a simple solution…

Ask people to respond to you directly.

First, send your friends and family an email like the one below our signature.

Then, when people respond…

  • You can thank those who oppose the bill for giving you feedback.
  • You can ask those who like the bill to go here — https://downsizedc.org/etp/rtba/ — and send a message to their elected reps asking them to co-sponsor it. You’ll be more persuasive if you can say you’ve done this already, yourself.

It’s that simple. Let’s say you poll ten people, and only one contacts Congress — you’ve still DOUBLED your own impact, with one simple action. But it gets better…

Let’s say that one out five people recruited in this manner becomes very excited about RTBA — they would then contact their own friends. You see…

Changing the world may be easier than people assume, if you…

  • Start with a popular but powerful proposal like RTBA
  • Concentrate on finding people who want what you want

Then…

  • You don’t have to argue with anyone
  • You don’t have to persuade people to change their mind

Just find the people who already agree, and ask them to do something easy but useful — like sending a message to Congress.

If you can recruit 3 million people that way then positive change should follow. Please do the following…

  • Copy the sample letter you’ll find below our signature and then email it to your friends and family — or post it on social media sites, like Facebook or Google+. Tag us!
  • Write us at FEEDBACK@downsizedc.org to tell us you did this, how many people you contacted, and even what they said.
  • When people write back telling you they oppose RTBA, thank them for participating in your poll.
  • When people tell you they support RTBA, ask them to go here — https://downsizedc.org/etp/rtba/ — and send a message to their elected reps telling them to co-sponsor it.

If you’d prefer not to participate, but you still want to help

–OR–

If you want to provide additional assistance…

We also have a fundraising goal: 10,000 donors in 2016.

A generous patron has already covered our basic expenses for January. That means any contribution you make today will be used entirely for outreach — to find and recruit more people who agree with things like the Read the Bills Act and our other bills. You can contribute or start a monthly pledge on our secure web form.

We accept a number of payment methods: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Bitcoin, and PayPal. Our printable form and snail mail address is there as well!

We hope you decide to send the sample letter below our signature to your friends and family. Thank you.

Jim Babka & Perry Willis

Downsize DC

Here’s the sample letter for friends and family…

I’m polling people to find out how they would feel about something called the Read the Bills Act (RTBA). This bill has been introduced in the Senate, and has a history of being introduced in the House, with multiple sponsors.

I’m now working with others to get this bill passed. Please write back and let me know what you think. Do you like this idea, or oppose it? Either way, support or oppose, I’d like to hear what you think.

RTBA would require that…

Any member of Congress who wants to vote YES on a bill must sign an affidavit swearing that he or she has…

  • Read the entire bill, or
  • Heard the entire bill read.

It will always be easy for every member of Congress to hear a bill read because RTBA requires a full reading before a quorum of each chamber of Congress. This one simple requirement will change how Congress operates. As it stands now, too many bills . . .

  • Are passed too quickly with too little understanding, debate, and deliberation
  • Are too long, too dense, and contain too many subjects

The quorum reading requirement will create a huge incentive to make bills shorter, clearer, and more focused, so that Congress can better endure the fatigue of hearing them read! It will make Congress . . .

  • Slow down
  • Debate
  • Deliberate
  • And better understand the burdens they seek to impose on the American people

RTBA also requires that every amendment to present law must quote the existing law to be amended, and the new section as amended. It will no longer suffice to have something like the following . . .

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

This is yet another feature of RTBA that will make things easier for both Congress and the public.

RTBA also imposes waiting periods . . .

  • After the quorum reading Congress must wait seven (7) days before the final vote.
  • The bill must be posted online during that period so that YOU, the press, the rest of the public, and watchdog groups can read the legislation too.
  • The vote must be publicly scheduled on the Internet for a date certain, seven (7) days in advance.

These provisions will end the practice of legislating by surprise, and give citizens the same time for reading and deliberating that Congress should invest.

Finally, RTBA has mechanisms to compel compliance. We’ll note two here . . .

First, RTBA is a law, NOT a mere rule. The evidence is overwhelming that Congress doesn’t obey its own rules. Enforceable laws are needed instead. This problem of enforcement is also why RTBA permits no exceptions for “emergencies.” “Emergency” has become an accounting term on Capitol Hill — a way to work outside the constraints of current budget law.

Second, Congressional rules can’t be enforced by the courts. But properly written laws can be. That’s why RTBA contains the following enforcement mechanism . . .

Any citizen, charged with a crime, can successfully defend him or herself, if they can present evidence demonstrating that the law they are accused of violating was passed in violation of RTBA. The judge can then dismiss the case, or the jury can render a verdict of innocence. No mere rule can be enforced in this way. Only a law can give citizens this kind of protection.

In conclusion . . .

If you must be responsible for obeying and funding every word of every law Congress enacts, then every member of Congress must be responsible for reading every word of every bill before they vote to enact it.

Do you support this law, or oppose it? Please write back and let me know.

–END OF SAMPLE LETTER–

If your comment is off-topic for this post, please email us at feedback@downsizedc.org

comments

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*
 
© 2008–2019 DownsizeDC.org