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June 30, 2007

It Was Just Too Big

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

Quotes of the Day

“I’m sure senators on both sides of the aisle are being pounded by these talk-radio people who don’t even know what’s in the bill.” Sen. Trent Lott

“A decent respect for our constituents means when they have very serious problems with an important piece of legislation, perhaps we should back off.” – Sen. Jeff Sessions

In This Issue:

*It Was Just Too Big
*Last Week in Congress
* New RTBA Coalition Member

It Was Just Too Big

The quotes by Sens. Lott and Sessions above reflect two opposing views not just of the now-defeated Immigration Reform Bill, but of how a Senator should represent the people. Sen. Lott blames the bill’s critics for not knowing what’s in it, as if he had any intention of reading the entire bill himself. This is not unlike President Bush’s condemnation of the bill’s critics, which we wrote about two weeks ago.

But we admit Sen. Lott had a point: many of the bill’s critics really didn’t know everything that’s in it. That’s because the bill was an incredible 762 pages even before the Senate considered amendments.

The bill’s sheer length was reason enough to oppose it. No matter one’s views on any particular immigration-related issue – border patrol, guest workers, amnesty, etc. – it made far more sense for Congress to consider them separately. Combining these issues into a “comprehensive” bill made it too large for Congress to read and understand fully. Even the bill’s supporters didn’t know what was in it, as Rich Lowry tells us here.

Fortunately, enough Senators followed Sen. Sessions’ advice, listened to their constituents, and killed this bill. But if the Read the Bills Act was already in force, this immigration bill would never have even been considered. By necessity, Congress would draft shorter, simpler bills. To learn more about the Read the Bills Act, click here.

And to tell your Representative and Senators to introduce the Read the Bills Act, click here.

Last Week in Congress

In the week of June 18-24, the House passed 11 bills totaling 353 pages. The Senate passed 4 bills coming to 192 pages. The list of bills, their page numbers, and links to roll call votes are found below, after my signature.

RTBA Coalition

Downsize DC welcomes the latest additions to the Read the Bills Act Coalition:

The Coffee Coaster

Do you want to link to your website or blog? Then join the Read the Bills Act Coalition! Details are here.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

James Wilson
Assistant to the President, Inc.

The following are the bills the House and Senate passed last week. The bills were passed by voice vote except where indicated. For roll call votes, you can click the link to see how individual members of Congress voted. The descriptions of bills are essentially verbatim from the Congressional Record Daily Digest. Page numbers of bills are based on the pdf display of the latest version from the Government Printing Office.


3 Post Office Designation Bills – 3 page each.

H.R. 885 – International Nuclear Fuel for Peace and Nonproliferation Act of 2007: H.R. 885, to support the establishment of an international regime for the assured supply of nuclear fuel for peaceful means and to authorize voluntary contributions to the International Atomic Energy Agency to support the establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank -16 pages

H.R. 2366 – SBA Veterans’ Programs Act of 2007: to reauthorize the veterans entrepreneurial development programs of the Small Business Administration –  8 pages

H.R. 2397 – SBA Women’s Business Programs Act of 2007: to reauthorize the women’s entrepreneurial development programs of the Small Business Administration – 10 pages

H.R. 923 – Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act: to establish an Unsolved Crimes Section in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and an Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office in the Civil Rights Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 422 yeas to 2 nays, Roll No. 512 – 10 pages

H.R. 2359 – SBA Entrepreneurial Development Programs Act of 2007: to reauthorize programs to assist small business concerns, by a 2/3 yea-and-nay vote of 405 yeas to 18 nays, Roll No. 514 – 34 pages

H.R. 2284 – Amending the Small Business Act to expand and improve the assistance provided by Small Business Development Centers to Indian tribe members, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, by a yea-and-nay vote of 351 yeas to 73 nays, Roll No. 515 – 10 pages

H.R. 2764 – making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, by a yea-and-nay vote of 241 yeas to 178 nays, Roll No. 542 – 210 pages

H.R. 2771 – Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2008, by a yea-and-nay vote of 216 yeas to 176 nays, Roll No. 548. – 52 pages


S. 277 – Grand Teton National Park Extension Act – 6 pages

H.R. 1429 – Improving Head Start Act – 162 pages

H.R. 6 – Clean Energy Act: By 65 yeas to 27 nays (Vote No. 226), Senate passed H.R. 6, to reduce our Nation’s dependency on foreign oil by investing in clean, renewable, and alternative energy resources, promoting new emerging energy technologies, developing greater efficiency, and creating a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve to invest in alternative energy. – 16 pages

S. 1099 – to amend chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, to make individuals employed by the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission eligible to obtain Federal health insurance – 2 pages

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