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April 29, 2006

The Salvador Dali Rule

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .


Yesterday we celebrated our first victory in the House — the passage of a rule about how Congress would vote on the so-called lobbying reform bill. This rule prevented amendments to the bill and gave us hope that Downsize DC could escape burdensome new regulations. But we couldn’t figure out the impact of the rule just by reading it. We needed people who understand Congress-speak to interpret it for us.

Yesterday we gave you a link to go read the rule for yourself, so you could see how convoluted and confusing it is. Predictably, given how Congress seems to do everything, the link didn’t work. So today, for your amusement, horror, befuddlement, and maybe even enlightenment, we provide the text of the rule here.

You will notice two things about it. 1) Readings of the bills are constantly waved (we need the Read the Bills Act!). 2) The language about amendments to the bill is extremely confusing, convoluted, and seemingly contradictory. Salvador Dali could have written it. See if you can understand it . . .

“Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 4975) to provide greater transparency with respect to lobbying activities, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader or their designees. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. In lieu of the amendments recommended by the Committees on the Judiciary, Rules, and Government Reform now printed in the bill, the amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of the Rules Committee Print dated April 21, 2006, modified by the amendment printed in part A of the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution, shall be considered as adopted in the House and the Committee of the Whole. The bill, as amended, shall be considered as the original bill for the purpose of further amendment and shall be considered as read. Notwithstanding clause 11 of rule XVIII, no further amendment to the bill, as amended, shall be in order except those printed in part B of the report of the Committee on Rules. Each further amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. All points of order against such further amendments are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill, as amended, to the House with such further amendments as may have been adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions.”

I don’t know about you, but I just reread that and I’m laughing my head off. I also feel inspired to send another message to Congress asking them to . . .


If you feel likewise so inspired, you can send your message here.


Also, now that you’ve had another reminder of how government operates, perhaps it will be easier to foresee the kind of horrors that could result from the National Animal Identification System. We have a new blog post that provides resources for anticipating what some of those horrors will be. You can read it here.

Plus . . .


If you live in New Hampshire you may want to know about and support the effort in that state to not comply with the REAL ID Act. You can read about it on our blog here.


We’re still about $3,800 short of our fundraising needs for April. You can contribute or start a monthly pledge here.

Thank you to the following Downsizers who made donations

Jack Jones, H J Bergami, David Miller, Joseph R Jordan, Perry Munger, Dagny Lord, Doris Bowers

Special thanks to the following Downsizers for starting monthly pledges

Mary Nagel, Dolores Comstock, Kevin Hawkins, Bruce M Guthrie, Robyn Wagner, Nathan Marciniak


Jim Babka will be discussing Rush Limbaugh’s latest arrest on drug charges.

That’s all for today. Thank you for being a DC Downsizer!

Perry Willis
Communications Director, Inc.

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