DeMint On The Senate's 'Secret Bills'

A week ago, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) posted a video on his YouTube account that shows his floor speech in which he voices his concern with secret bills and the fact that the Senate passes over 90% of legislation without any debate, without amendment, and without a roll call vote.

"But I think it is important that America know what we're talking about here. At this point in the Senate 94 percent of all the bills are passed unanimous consent. 94 percent. So this is hardly a lack of productivity, and what this means is that 94 percent of the bills that pass the Senate have no debate, no vote, no amendments, no reading of the bill, no online disclosure, and very often, no score from the Congressional Budget Office.

"When I first took over the Steering Committee, one of the things I learned real quickly, is that whenever we're having a break, if we're going for a week like we're going this week, on my way to the airport, I would get a call from staff telling me there were dozens of request to pass bills unanimous consent, cause they knew we were all going out of town. And a lot of them had some pretty big price tags on them.

"Folks, you don't get $13 Trillion in debt when you're doing things right. And part of the problem is that 94 percent of the bills that pass the Senate, pass in secret. The problem is not secret holds, it's the secret passing of bills, when very often we don't even know who's requesting bills. And if we didn't have staff available at night when they run their so-called hotlines, which means the phone in your office rings, they ask if you will agree to pass a bill, you haven't read it, you don't know what it costs, but if you don't agree to pass it by unanimous consent, you are holding the bill.

"If you ask to read it for the next day or two, it's very likely that some association is getting e-mails from either the Republican or the Democrat side that Senator DeMint is holding this desperately needed piece of legislation, who nobody else is read. I'd be glad to work with my colleagues on dealing with this issue if they believe secret holds are a problem, but I frankly think passing 94 percent of the bills without anybody even reading them or knowing they're getting passed is not a good way to do business."

This is a rather jaw-dropping revelation that calls for at least three questions.

First, who is writing these bills?

The American people know that our legislators aren't the ones who actually write the bills, because they've already conceded they don't read the bills, after all, according to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), there's no point in doing so because "you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you've read the bill". The actual writers of these bills are never accounted for, thus, not only do we have secret bills, we have secret writers writing the secret bills.

Second, if our legislators aren't writing the bills, nor are they reading the bills, then what job is it that We the People, have hired them to do? 

At this rate, we might as well go with trained chimps and/or drinking bird toys, could they do any worse?

Third, how can one support a bill that they know nothing about because they've had no hand in its construction or its review, and then honestly tell their constituents that they are being effectively served?

This amount of incompetence can't possibly be accidentally, and this unconscionable behavior can be tolerated no longer.

At this point, it's questionable that "vote the bastards out" is the best solution to cure what ails this nation.

The political system has been completely corrupted at all levels of government, and unfortunately we have too many elected officials who are more willing to go along and play the game rather than reform it, and to make matters worse, the so-called reformers, i.e. Obama, only pose as such to garner support, and then just add more dung to the pile.

How can we expect better when we keep sending politicians, who may initially be honest and forthright with their aims to dutifully serve their constituents, to the metastasized cancer of greed, deceit, and corruption that Washington has become?

At least we can thank Senator DeMint for bringing this practice of secret bills to our attention, he is one of the few who has avoided the sickness and is trying to serve us the way our Founders intended, unfortunately he is just that; one of the few.

J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com
A week ago, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) posted a video on his YouTube account that shows his floor speech in which he voices his concern with secret bills and the fact that the Senate passes over 90% of legislation without any debate, without amendment, and without a roll call vote.

"But I think it is important that America know what we're talking about here. At this point in the Senate 94 percent of all the bills are passed unanimous consent. 94 percent. So this is hardly a lack of productivity, and what this means is that 94 percent of the bills that pass the Senate have no debate, no vote, no amendments, no reading of the bill, no online disclosure, and very often, no score from the Congressional Budget Office.

"When I first took over the Steering Committee, one of the things I learned real quickly, is that whenever we're having a break, if we're going for a week like we're going this week, on my way to the airport, I would get a call from staff telling me there were dozens of request to pass bills unanimous consent, cause they knew we were all going out of town. And a lot of them had some pretty big price tags on them.

"Folks, you don't get $13 Trillion in debt when you're doing things right. And part of the problem is that 94 percent of the bills that pass the Senate, pass in secret. The problem is not secret holds, it's the secret passing of bills, when very often we don't even know who's requesting bills. And if we didn't have staff available at night when they run their so-called hotlines, which means the phone in your office rings, they ask if you will agree to pass a bill, you haven't read it, you don't know what it costs, but if you don't agree to pass it by unanimous consent, you are holding the bill.

"If you ask to read it for the next day or two, it's very likely that some association is getting e-mails from either the Republican or the Democrat side that Senator DeMint is holding this desperately needed piece of legislation, who nobody else is read. I'd be glad to work with my colleagues on dealing with this issue if they believe secret holds are a problem, but I frankly think passing 94 percent of the bills without anybody even reading them or knowing they're getting passed is not a good way to do business."

This is a rather jaw-dropping revelation that calls for at least three questions.

First, who is writing these bills?

The American people know that our legislators aren't the ones who actually write the bills, because they've already conceded they don't read the bills, after all, according to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), there's no point in doing so because "you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you've read the bill". The actual writers of these bills are never accounted for, thus, not only do we have secret bills, we have secret writers writing the secret bills.

Second, if our legislators aren't writing the bills, nor are they reading the bills, then what job is it that We the People, have hired them to do? 

At this rate, we might as well go with trained chimps and/or drinking bird toys, could they do any worse?

Third, how can one support a bill that they know nothing about because they've had no hand in its construction or its review, and then honestly tell their constituents that they are being effectively served?

This amount of incompetence can't possibly be accidentally, and this unconscionable behavior can be tolerated no longer.

At this point, it's questionable that "vote the bastards out" is the best solution to cure what ails this nation.

The political system has been completely corrupted at all levels of government, and unfortunately we have too many elected officials who are more willing to go along and play the game rather than reform it, and to make matters worse, the so-called reformers, i.e. Obama, only pose as such to garner support, and then just add more dung to the pile.

How can we expect better when we keep sending politicians, who may initially be honest and forthright with their aims to dutifully serve their constituents, to the metastasized cancer of greed, deceit, and corruption that Washington has become?

At least we can thank Senator DeMint for bringing this practice of secret bills to our attention, he is one of the few who has avoided the sickness and is trying to serve us the way our Founders intended, unfortunately he is just that; one of the few.

J.C. Arenas is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your comments at jcarenas.com

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