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"My Five Step Plan to Restoring Constitutional Government"

Posted by on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:02 PM
  • 38 Replies


Thoughts?  (please save conservative bashing for another post, lets have a constructive conversation)

If you don't think these are good ideas, what are some suggestions you have to make congress more effective and/or accountable... unless you think it's as good as it can get?


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by on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:02 PM
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Replies (1-10):
supermonstermom
by Silver Member on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:05 PM
1 mom liked this

I don't see anything wrong with that!!


sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:17 PM

 Context

 

Paper Weight

The health care bill is more than 1,000 pages. Is that a lot?

With the debate over health care reform heating up, one peculiar criticism keeps surfacing: That the bill-or, at least, the House version -is too long. "I have a fundamental problem with any 1,000-page bills,"said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., at a town hall meeting on Wednesday. Back in June, Newt Gingrich complained on Fox News that "[t]his bill is already 1,000 pages long." It's now 1,018 pages, to be exact-is that especially long for a bill?

 

Not really. Sure, most legislation is much shorter: The average statute passed by the 109th Congress-the latest session for which figures are available-clocked in at around 15 pages, according to the Senate Library. And the recent law authorizing President Obama to give gold medals to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing filled just two pages. But major spending bills frequently run more than 1,000. This year's stimulus bill was 1,100 pages. The climate bill that the House passed in June was 1,200 pages. Bill Clinton's 1993 health care plan was famously 1,342 pages long. Budget bills can run even longer: In 2007, President Bush's ran to 1,482 pages.

 

Over the last several decades, the number of bills passed by Congress has declined: In 1948, Congress passed 906 bills. In 2006, it passed only 482. At the same time, the total number of pages of legislation has gone up from slightly more than 2,000 pages in 1948 to more than 7,000 pages in 2006. (The average bill length increased over the same period from 2.5 pages to 15.2 pages.)

Bills are getting longer because they're getting harder to pass. Increased partisanship over the years has meant that the minority party is willing to do anything it can to block legislation-adding amendments, filibustering, or otherwise stalling the lawmaking process. As a result, the majority party feels the need to pack as much meat into a bill as it can-otherwise, the provisions might never get through. Another factor is that the federal government keeps expanding. Federal spending was about $2.7 trillion in 2007. That's up from $92 billion 50 years ago. And as new legislation is introduced, past laws need to be updated. The result: more pages.

 

Bonus Explainer: Do members of Congress actually read legislation? It depends. If a lawmaker is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, say, chances are he'll read all-or, at least, most-of a climate bill. But he probably would not read every last word of an education bill. Instead, he'd just read the parts that he considers important-perhaps because they're controversial. Furthermore, since bills often read like bureaucratic gibberish, lawmakers hire aides with various policy specialties to study the legislation in depth and summarize it. (The job of actually converting the policy ideas into legislative language goes to the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Counsel.) So when a lawmaker "reads" a bill, it's usually a combination of glossing summaries of the less important stuff and, when necessary, poring over the actual text to understand the more crucial bits.

 

 

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:20 PM
2 moms liked this

I don't know how well that 10 page minimum would work out.

SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:43 PM
I just can't even wrap my head around 1000 pages of policy being necessary, let alone possible to sit down, read through and understand fully. A lot of the info here is eye opening, thank you for sharing.

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 Context

 



Paper Weight



The health care bill is more than 1,000 pages. Is that a lot?


With the debate over health care reform heating up, one peculiar criticism keeps surfacing: That the bill-or, at least, the House version -is too long. "I have a fundamental problem with any 1,000-page bills,"said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., at a town hall meeting on Wednesday. Back in June, Newt Gingrich complained on Fox News that "[t]his bill is already 1,000 pages long." It's now 1,018 pages, to be exact-is that especially long for a bill?




 



Not really. Sure, most legislation is much shorter: The average statute passed by the 109th Congress-the latest session for which figures are available-clocked in at around 15 pages, according to the Senate Library. And the recent law authorizing President Obama to give gold medals to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing filled just two pages. But major spending bills frequently run more than 1,000. This year's stimulus bill was 1,100 pages. The climate bill that the House passed in June was 1,200 pages. Bill Clinton's 1993 health care plan was famously 1,342 pages long. Budget bills can run even longer: In 2007, President Bush's ran to 1,482 pages.

 



Over the last several decades, the number of bills passed by Congress has declined: In 1948, Congress passed 906 bills. In 2006, it passed only 482. At the same time, the total number of pages of legislation has gone up from slightly more than 2,000 pages in 1948 to more than 7,000 pages in 2006. (The average bill length increased over the same period from 2.5 pages to 15.2 pages.)


Bills are getting longer because they're getting harder to pass. Increased partisanship over the years has meant that the minority party is willing to do anything it can to block legislation-adding amendments, filibustering, or otherwise stalling the lawmaking process. As a result, the majority party feels the need to pack as much meat into a bill as it can-otherwise, the provisions might never get through. Another factor is that the federal government keeps expanding. Federal spending was about $2.7 trillion in 2007. That's up from $92 billion 50 years ago. And as new legislation is introduced, past laws need to be updated. The result: more pages.




 



Bonus Explainer: Do members of Congress actually read legislation? It depends. If a lawmaker is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, say, chances are he'll read all-or, at least, most-of a climate bill. But he probably would not read every last word of an education bill. Instead, he'd just read the parts that he considers important-perhaps because they're controversial. Furthermore, since bills often read like bureaucratic gibberish, lawmakers hire aides with various policy specialties to study the legislation in depth and summarize it. (The job of actually converting the policy ideas into legislative language goes to the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Counsel.) So when a lawmaker "reads" a bill, it's usually a combination of glossing summaries of the less important stuff and, when necessary, poring over the actual text to understand the more crucial bits.

 


 

SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:43 PM
Do you think a different number would be better, or do you think it's ok as it is now?

Quoting FromAtoZ:

I don't know how well that 10 page minimum would work out.

MidwestMama55
by on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:46 PM
1 mom liked this

I think it sounds perfect. Can't find fault with any of those points. I'm interested to see what others think.

MidwestMama55
by on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Why not? Part of the deal was that the bill had to be written in "layman's term". I think if you cut all the lawyer-speak out of it you should be able to state the bill in 10 pages of less (of readable size print!).

Quoting FromAtoZ:

I don't know how well that 10 page minimum would work out.


krysstizzle
by on Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:57 PM
1 mom liked this

Hmmm..maybe a couple of those could work. The last point, I like.

I'm in the middle of Farm Bill stuff right now. There's no way on this green earth it could be less than 10 pages. That length seems really arbitrary to me and not really all that helpful. 

I wish that pet projects couldn't be added and ammended and thrown into bills that have nothing to do with the bill - so point 3 is good to me. 

They'd have to clarify "layman's terms". Sometimes, policy requires weird and unfortunate wording to be explicit. 


There are things that are more important, imo. One, campaign contribution laws need a serious and severe overhaul, as does lobbying. Two, term limits for congress (not sure exactly what, but something...).

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Feb. 18, 2014 at 3:01 PM

 For things like budgets and laws that encompass a broad range of things, it's needed.

Also, the 1,000+ page bills are equivalent to a small novel. If you used the same type size and spacing that you used for a book, it wouldn't be any where near 1000 pages.

 

Quoting SewingMamaLele: I just can't even wrap my head around 1000 pages of policy being necessary, let alone possible to sit down, read through and understand fully. A lot of the info here is eye opening, thank you for sharing.

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 Context

 



Paper Weight



The health care bill is more than 1,000 pages. Is that a lot?


With the debate over health care reform heating up, one peculiar criticism keeps surfacing: That the bill-or, at least, the House version -is too long. "I have a fundamental problem with any 1,000-page bills,"saidSen. David Vitter, R-La., at a town hall meeting on Wednesday. Back in June, Newt Gingrich complained on Fox News that "[t]his bill is already 1,000 pages long." It's now 1,018 pages, to be exact-is that especially long for a bill?



 

 



Not really. Sure, most legislation is much shorter: The average statute passed by the 109th Congress-the latest session for which figures are available-clocked in at around 15 pages, according to the Senate Library. And the recent law authorizing President Obama to give gold medals to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing filled just two pages. But major spending bills frequently run more than 1,000. This year's stimulus bill was 1,100 pages. The climate bill that the House passed in June was 1,200 pages. Bill Clinton's 1993 health care plan was famously 1,342 pages long. Budget bills can run even longer: In 2007, President Bush's ran to 1,482 pages.

 



Over the last several decades, the number of bills passed by Congress has declined: In 1948, Congress passed 906 bills. In 2006, it passed only 482. At the same time, the total number of pages of legislation has gone up from slightly more than 2,000 pages in 1948 to more than 7,000 pages in 2006. (The average bill length increased over the same period from 2.5 pages to 15.2 pages.)


Bills are getting longer because they're getting harder to pass. Increased partisanship over the years has meant that the minority party is willing to do anything it can to block legislation-adding amendments, filibustering, or otherwise stalling the lawmaking process. As a result, the majority party feels the need to pack as much meat into a bill as it can-otherwise, the provisions might never get through. Another factor is that the federal government keeps expanding. Federal spending was about $2.7 trillion in 2007. That's up from $92 billion 50 years ago. And as new legislation is introduced, past laws need to be updated. The result: more pages.



 

 



Bonus Explainer: Do members of Congress actually read legislation? It depends. If a lawmaker is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, say, chances are he'll read all-or, at least, most-of a climate bill. But he probably would not read every last word of an education bill. Instead, he'd just read the parts that he considers important-perhaps because they're controversial. Furthermore, since bills often read like bureaucratic gibberish, lawmakers hire aides with various policy specialties to study the legislation in depth and summarize it. (The job of actually converting the policy ideas into legislative language goes to the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Counsel.) So when a lawmaker "reads" a bill, it's usually a combination of glossing summaries of the less important stuff and, when necessary, poring over the actual text to understand the more crucial bits.

 


 

 

MsDenuninani
by Silver Member on Feb. 18, 2014 at 3:14 PM

1. Has nothing to do with the Constitution. (Besides, they'd just end up using smaller font.)

2. Article 1.  Done.

3. That would be awesome.  And impossible.  Everyone always has a theory as to why the content is related to the title, and there is always an interest group that has a valid disagreement.

4. That seems like an unncessary delay to a process that already takes entirely too long.  Further, the truth is the vast swath of Americans are entirely too busy to read this stuff.  We've got jobs, and families.  Me, personally, sometimes I like to go to the movies or have a long dinner with friends.

5. Total Costs is impossible to guess.  All bills have unintended costs.

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