Perhaps one of the most frustrating revelations of recent years has been just how much legislation gets passed without legislators -the people we pay to write our laws- actually reading the bills. The recent health care reform legislation was, sadly, only the most recent example of this derelict practice. And it’s a bipartisan failing, as Byron York shows:
There’s a scene in “Fahrenheit 911,” left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore’s mostly forgotten 2004 tirade against George W. Bush, that some of today’s unhappy voters might recognize.
Moore was angry that Congress passed the Patriot Act so quickly that some lawmakers hadn’t read the whole bill. So Moore went to Democratic Rep. John Conyers for an explanation.
“How could Congress pass this Patriot Act without even reading it?” Moore asked.
“Sit down, my son,” Conyers said, lowering his voice as if to reveal a trade secret. “We don’t read most of the bills. Do you really know what that would entail, if we were to read every bill that we passed?”
Thankfully, the Republicans have listened to the public and included a pledge in their recent manifesto to post a bill online in its final form for 72 hours before it’s voted on. That way everyone can read it, including us, the, um, supposed owners of this joint. It won’t guarantee that legislators read every bill that comes along, but it would be great if they’d at least do it for those of national importance, such as taking over one-sixth of the economy.
Be sure to read the whole article. Conyers answers his own question at the end, and I suspect it’s one we can all agree with.