Senator Rand Paul: Bringing sanity to Congress’s voting process

posted at 5:11 pm on July 4, 2012 by Dustin Siggins

Last week, Congress passed a flawed transportation/flood insurance/student loan bill that became law soon thereafter. The bill’s issues, which I outlined at the above link, include the following:

  1. The conference report combined three unrelated bills into one, a too-common practice on Capitol Hill to offset costs and garner votes by putting “must-pass” legislation around bills of lower priority. TARP and the PPACA are examples of bills that followed this pattern.
  2. Further student loan subsidization is a bad thing for college costs and quality. The lower rate was put into place as a “temporary” policy in 2007, but like many so-called temporary measures it has now been extended. Apparently elections are more important than the quality of higher education in Washington – a shocking concept, I know.
  3.  Procedurally, the legislation was passed with a waiver so Members didn’t have to stay in Washington until Saturday. While I’m usually all in favor of Congress leaving town, it’s yet another small indication of where priorities are for many Members – on their own agendas, not on the promises of transparency or putting their constituents first.
  4. As Heritage notes, it simply spends too much.

Fortunately, the taxpayers may actually benefit in the long run from this bill. Yesterday, The Hill reported that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced two important, and long overdue, bills that coincidentally address two of the issues I tackled above:

After blasting the Senate last week for passing a 600-page bill no one had time to read, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced legislation that would force the Senate to give its members one day to read bills for every 20 pages they contain.

“For goodness sakes, this is a 600-page bill. I got it this morning,” Paul said Friday, just before the Senate approved a massive bill extending highway funding, federal flood insurance and low student loans rates.

“Not one member of the Senate will read this bill before we vote on it,” he added.

Paul also introduced related legislation Friday, S. 3359, that would prohibit the inclusion of more than one subject in a single bill.

Of course, these reforms should have never been up for debate in the first place – having time to read something fully before supporting it and letting ideas succeed or fail on their own merits are basic norms everywhere but in Washington. Let’s hope Paul is successful in his effort, and that conservatives everywhere back him to the hilt. Our country is about to fall off a fiscal cliff, but if these measures are put into place perhaps we can slow the drop long enough to get our footing again.

[Originally posted at LibertyBlog.org.]

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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I hope he succeeds…

OmahaConservative on July 4, 2012 at 5:15 PM

“Not one member of the Senate will read this bill before we vote on it,” he added.

Jeebus Rand, don’t you know you have to pass the bill to find out what’s in the bill?

Were you not paying attention to Nanzi when she told you?

JPeterman on July 4, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Let’s hope Paul is successful in his effort, and that conservatives everywhere back him to the hilt.

I’m sure conservatives will. What about Republicans?

trigon on July 4, 2012 at 5:25 PM

I’m glad they’ve been introduced but there’s no way Bambi signs them. The only way this would have become law is if Sen. Paul had crammed them into the “transportation/flood insurance/student loan” bill. They could have then called it the “transportation/flood insurance/student loan/don’t_be_such_freaking_idiots” bill.

SoRight on July 4, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Is this like his father restoring sanity to the candidacy for the Presidency?

NO SARC TAG…

Khun Joe on July 4, 2012 at 5:26 PM

“For goodness sakes, this is a 600-page bill. I got it this morning,” Paul said Friday, just before the Senate approved a massive bill extending highway funding, federal flood insurance and low student loans rates.

“Not one member of the Senate will read this bill before we vote on it,” he added.
==================

It has been said,let it be written!

And,Common Sense,Dont Cha think!!

canopfor on July 4, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Rand Paul………..the DON QUIXOTE of the gop.

I’d love to see some of the reforms that Paul and DeMint want to get in there but most of the gop is just as eat up with BIGGOVLOVE as the Communists/Democrats.

Can someone name any government run program that the republicans have actually ended/killed that hasn’t just been reformatted into something with a different name?

PappyD61 on July 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Rad Paul’s bills make sense, of course, but I’m wondering what makes him think that the Congress members will actually read the bills before them before signing them EVEN IF THEY HAVE AMPLE TIME TO DO SO.

Its my impression that most congressmen are more interested in pursuing their own agenda than doing what they were elected to do,i.e overseeing the making of laws and doing the nations business AS DULY ELECTED PROXIES FOR THEIR CONSTITUENTS in Congress.

I seem to remember Rep. Conyers complaining when asked why he didn’t bother to read the Affordable Care Act that he would need a lawyer to understand most of the bills that come before him.

I think that we need to require that the language of these bills be simple and concise. That those who are elected to serve in Congress be ABLE to read and understand the legislation, and that they be required to actually READ each bill in advance of debating it and voting on it. THAT is the only reason they’ve been sent to CONGRESS.

thatsafactjack on July 4, 2012 at 5:33 PM

I’m sure conservatives will. What about Republicans?

trigon

Can’t even give it a rest for one day…

You guys are tedious.

chimney sweep on July 4, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Can someone name any government run program that the republicans have actually ended/killed that hasn’t just been reformatted into something with a different name?

PappyD61 on July 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Nope..

Tim Zank on July 4, 2012 at 5:39 PM

too late rand. romneyobamacare trumps EVERYTHING!!!

renalin on July 4, 2012 at 5:41 PM

If Romney can’t beat Obama than I am all for Rand in 2016. A little sanity would go a long way in the White House.

ModerateMan on July 4, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Let’s hope Paul is successful in his effort, and that conservatives everywhere back him to the hilt.

Sure. They passed “Pay-Go”, how’s that working out for us? They didn’t pass the “DREAM Act”, how’s that working out for us?

Does it matter anymore which laws are passed (and which are not)? Isn’t it just theater, these days? (With very, very expensive tickets.)

RedCrow on July 4, 2012 at 5:48 PM

What a concept.

SouthernGent on July 4, 2012 at 5:50 PM

This needs to be a constitutional amendment.

But, I would do it a little differently or expand it a bit:

Each legislator who votes Aye on a Bill (and the President if he signs the Bill) must swear that they have read and understood the Bill and its implications.

That way if a reporter asks them about the Bill, and the legislator’s answers demonstrate ignorance, this will be a major campaign issue.

——-

And, while contemplating constitutional changes, how about this:

Congress (with the President concurring) can overturn a SCOTUS ruling if they vote by a greater majorities (percentage) than was done by votes of SCOTUS.

mockmook on July 4, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Hey, maybe if the Republicans get the Senate and White House in Nov, we can start passing some of this sensible legislation, giving people time to read bills, voting for one issue at a time instead of combining bills. What… stop laughing at me!

Dongemaharu on July 4, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Hey, maybe if the Republicans get the Senate and White House in Nov, we can start passing some of this sensible legislation, giving people time to read bills, voting for one issue at a time instead of combining bills. What… stop laughing at me!

Dongemaharu on July 4, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I’ll take Mitch over Dingy Harry 8 ways to Sunday…

Khun Joe on July 4, 2012 at 6:06 PM

The one thing Illinois got right in the past 50 years (constitution was rewritten in 1970 and effective July 1, 1971) is that a bill can only deal with one subject. In the past year or so there have been was a spending law that was overturned because someone tacked on something they couldn’t get passed otherwise (or the other way round, I can’t recall – don’t worry, they immediately passed it on it’s own, this is Illinois after all!)

LifeTrek on July 4, 2012 at 6:14 PM

I’ll take Mitch over Dingy Harry 8 ways to Sunday…
Khun Joe on July 4, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Great! Me too. Looking forward to the legislative reform they’ll pass next year.

Dongemaharu on July 4, 2012 at 6:28 PM

There’s simply too many laws. If this is a way to get the litigators, er legislators, to slow down, great.

If Romney can’t beat Obama than I am all for Rand in 2016. A little sanity would go a long way in the White House.

ModerateMan on July 4, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Maybe even if Romney beats Obama.

anotherJoe on July 4, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Moderate Man: “If Romney can’t beat Obama than I am all for Rand in 2016. A little sanity would go a long way in the White House”.

Sorry, it won’t happen like that, in my opinion.
If Obama gets re-elected, or perhaps I should say, when he gets re-elected, he’ll have so many illegal aliens on the fast track to American citizens, that it’ll be a built in voting block. The conservative movement will be reduced, & a republican Presidency will be part of our past.

Belle on July 4, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Along with these ideas, how about no bill is valid for more than 5 years. To renew it, it must pas by a super majority +10%, with no riders, add ons, or changes.

jackal40 on July 4, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Great! Me too. Looking forward to the legislative reform they’ll pass next year.

Not if Mitchy says Obamacare, for example, is too hard to repeal! You are dreaming.

love2rumba on July 4, 2012 at 7:48 PM

love2rumba on July 4, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Yeah, I don’t actually believe it, at least not till I see it.

Dongemaharu on July 4, 2012 at 8:22 PM

This needs to be a constitutional amendment. {snip}

mockmook on July 4, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Constitution? I know there used to be something in American history called the Constitution, back before Congress and the Supreme Court decided they were above such limitations…

RoadRunner on July 4, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Read the bill? What is he nuts? Democratic Congressman John Conyers would develop an aneurysm at the very thought.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACbwND52rrw

paulus1 on July 4, 2012 at 8:57 PM

“For goodness sakes, this is a 600-page bill. I got it this morning,” Paul said Friday, just before the Senate approved a massive bill extending highway funding, federal flood insurance and low student loans rates.

“Not one member of the Senate will read this bill before we vote on it,” he added.

Paul also introduced related legislation Friday, S. 3359, that would prohibit the inclusion of more than one subject in a single bill

…the voice of reason!…maybe it’s not genetic!

KOOLAID2 on July 4, 2012 at 9:19 PM

like many so-called temporary measures it has now been extended

This is what I’m hoping happens to the temp 2% reduction in SocSec collections. Starve the beast.

mdenis39 on July 4, 2012 at 10:55 PM

I wish he’d start talking about the Law of the Sea Treaty and the United Nations Global Military Regime Treaty. These are scary. And they’re going under the radar!

Iblis on July 5, 2012 at 12:29 AM

Obama is fond of claiming the higher interest rate which student loans would have paid would cost the average student over $1000 in extra interest. It would – but in total, over the life of the loan, not each year.

That average student would have seen his monthly payment rise by $7. Seven dollars a month. This was the big emergency!

Yes the practice of “bundling” unrelated spending measures has grown rampant, and the rules should prohibit it. BUT if we had enough members of the House and Senate responsible enough to change the rules, we wouldn’t be spending all this money we don’t have in the first place.

Adjoran on July 5, 2012 at 4:43 AM

Obama is fond of claiming the higher interest rate which student loans would have paid would cost the average student over $1000 in extra interest. It would – but in total, over the life of the loan, not each year.

That average student would have seen his monthly payment rise by $7. Seven dollars a month. This was the big emergency!

Adjoran on July 5, 2012 at 4:43 AM

And unless they’ve rewritten student loan procedures even further, wouldn’t this interest increase only affect new loans?

I had three student loans in the 80s, at 6%, 7%, and 8% respectively. I seem to have survived.

LibraryGryffon on July 5, 2012 at 4:55 AM

excellent legislation by RP and long overdue. It’s unconscionable that things are voted on before being read to begin with. It’s an derelection of duty.

wodiej on July 5, 2012 at 7:26 AM

People who signed mortgage agreements that they didn’t read or understand are said to have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous mortgage brokers. What do you call citizens who have representatives who don’t read bills before they sign them on their behalf?

ctmom on July 5, 2012 at 7:49 AM

I’m glad they’ve been introduced but there’s no way Bambi signs them.

If it’s written as a change in the Senate’s own rules, they don’t need his signature or the House to approve, either.

Art. I, §5, ¶2:

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.

The Monster on July 5, 2012 at 9:19 AM

thatsafactjack on July 4, 2012 at 5:33 PM

If nothing else, it would slow down the flow of complex legislature and give us time to read it and provide feedback to our Representatives.

I don’t know if you saw it, but I saw where at least one blogger was publishing Obamacare in page blocks so that his readers could divide up the reading and hunt for the bad stuff. More time would allow us to find all that bad stuff, and do our own projections for how requirements would affect us long term.

dominigan on July 5, 2012 at 9:22 AM

I remember speaking one day with a county board member about why she was going to vote for a law she was against and I was asking her to vote against. It made no sense to me. She replied ” If I don’t support their issues then they won’t vote for anything I propose.” Drove me to drink. Made sense to her.
They don’t read bills they pass? Bartender!

Herb on July 5, 2012 at 10:33 AM