Jacoby: Maybe Lawmakers should read what they are voting on

Rick Moran
Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby highlights a phenomenon that has made Congress something of a laughingstock in recent months.

According to Steny Hoyer, lawmakers should refrain from reading what they are to vote on:

At a news conference last week, he was talking about the healthcare overhaul being drafted on Capitol Hill, and a reporter asked whether he would support a pledge committing members of Congress to read the bill before voting on it, and to make the full text of the legislation available to the public online for 72 hours before the vote takes place

That, reported CNSNews, gave Hoyer the giggles: The majority leader "found the idea of the pledge humorous, laughing as he responded to the question. ‘I'm laughing because . . . I don't know how long this bill is going to be, but it's going to be a very long bill,' he said.''

Then came one of those classic Washington gaffes that Michael Kinsley famously defined as "when a politician tells the truth.'' Hoyer conceded that if lawmakers had to carefully study the bill ahead of time, they would never vote for it. "If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn't read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes,'' he said. The majority leader was declaring, in other words, that it is more important for Congress to pass the bill than to understand it.

The cap and trade bill and health care monstrosity will fundamentally alter the relationship between the governed and the governors and Steny Hoyer doesn't think our representatives should read how that is going to occur before voting on it?


Jacoby supplies the necessary smack down:

Senators and representatives who vote on bills they haven't read and don't understand betray their constituents' trust. It is no excuse to say that Congress would get much less done if every member took the time to read every bill. Fewer and shorter laws more carefully thought through would be a vast improvement over today's massive bills, which are assembled in the dark and enacted in haste. Steny Hoyer chortles at the thought of asking members of Congress to do their job properly. It's up to voters to wipe the grin off his face.

Perhaps we should start applying a variation of "Too Big to Fail" to these thousand page bills being drafted by Congress.

"Too Big to Pass."



Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby highlights a phenomenon that has made Congress something of a laughingstock in recent months.

According to Steny Hoyer, lawmakers should refrain from reading what they are to vote on:

At a news conference last week, he was talking about the healthcare overhaul being drafted on Capitol Hill, and a reporter asked whether he would support a pledge committing members of Congress to read the bill before voting on it, and to make the full text of the legislation available to the public online for 72 hours before the vote takes place

That, reported CNSNews, gave Hoyer the giggles: The majority leader "found the idea of the pledge humorous, laughing as he responded to the question. ‘I'm laughing because . . . I don't know how long this bill is going to be, but it's going to be a very long bill,' he said.''

Then came one of those classic Washington gaffes that Michael Kinsley famously defined as "when a politician tells the truth.'' Hoyer conceded that if lawmakers had to carefully study the bill ahead of time, they would never vote for it. "If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn't read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes,'' he said. The majority leader was declaring, in other words, that it is more important for Congress to pass the bill than to understand it.

The cap and trade bill and health care monstrosity will fundamentally alter the relationship between the governed and the governors and Steny Hoyer doesn't think our representatives should read how that is going to occur before voting on it?


Jacoby supplies the necessary smack down:

Senators and representatives who vote on bills they haven't read and don't understand betray their constituents' trust. It is no excuse to say that Congress would get much less done if every member took the time to read every bill. Fewer and shorter laws more carefully thought through would be a vast improvement over today's massive bills, which are assembled in the dark and enacted in haste. Steny Hoyer chortles at the thought of asking members of Congress to do their job properly. It's up to voters to wipe the grin off his face.

Perhaps we should start applying a variation of "Too Big to Fail" to these thousand page bills being drafted by Congress.

"Too Big to Pass."