Patterico's Pontifications

4/21/2014

Bills Before Congress

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:04 pm

[guest post by Dana]

During every congressional session, a plethora of bills are introduced for passage. Here are a few of the more unique ones. Even if bills don’t pass, sponsors and their causes will receive attention during the session. In reading several on the list, one can’t help think that too many congresspeople have far too much time on their hands.

Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act: Would establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park on the moon. – Chief sponsor Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.)

Read the Bills Act: Would require legislation to be posted online one week before it comes up for a vote. The House version, sponsored by two Republicans, would exempt declarations of war. The Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would require that lawmakers sign an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, attesting that they “attentively” read the measure or were present throughout the entire reading. They do not have to sign the affidavit if they vote against the bill. – House Bill’s chief sponsor Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.)

Department of Peacebuilding Act: Would establish a Cabinet-level federal department, headed by the secretary of Peacebuilding, dedicated to reducing violence domestically and internationally. – Chief Sponsor Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)

(The idea of a Department of Peace had been championed for more than a decade by then-Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio).

District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act: Would address the District of Columbia’s long-standing grievance over lack of representation in Congress by turning over the district to Maryland except for a “National Capital Service Area” that includes the Capitol, the White House and monuments on the National Mall.

SPA Act: Would prohibit the operation of the House gym during a government shutdown. The Shutdown Prioritization Act was introduced during the 16-day federal government shutdown in October.

Arguments for the bills and their current status can be read at the link.

–Dana

17 Responses to “Bills Before Congress”

  1. Ding!…. a-lings.

    fing idiots.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  2. when do loser ameritard congresswhores ever actually declare war

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  3. I don’t think any bill should pass into law unless it is read in full on the floor of its respective chamber. And a minimum of 90% of the relevant body must be in attendance.

    Gazzer (8a1037)

  4. Ref the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, a National Park needs rangers, 4 of them, and a supervisor. I propose Pelosi, Sibelius, Holder, and H. Clinton. Any ideas for the supervisory ranger? Oh, yes, B. Obama. He needs managerial experience.

    Ref the Department of Peacebuilding Act, maybe Rep Lee can work the wonders of such a department on her crime-ridden hometown of Oakland before foisting it on the nation.

    LTMG (9a1240)

  5. Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act: Would establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park on the moon. – Chief sponsor Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.)

    LOL. If we had a colony on the moon, this might make some sense. A nice park for the colonists to visit, I suppose. But, a park in a place that is uninhabited and receives zero visitors? Sounds like an excellent use of our tax dollars!

    Read the Bills Act: Would require legislation to be posted online one week before it comes up for a vote. The House version, sponsored by two Republicans, would exempt declarations of war. The Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would require that lawmakers sign an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, attesting that they “attentively” read the measure or were present throughout the entire reading. They do not have to sign the affidavit if they vote against the bill. – House Bill’s chief sponsor Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.)

    I like the version requiring that new potential legislation be posted for a week. Anything that complicates things for the SOBs that like to sneak thing through. The affidavit thing sound lame. Just a chance for more DC theater.

    Department of Peacebuilding Act: Would establish a Cabinet-level federal department, headed by the secretary of Peacebuilding, dedicated to reducing violence domestically and internationally. – Chief Sponsor Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)

    Nobody brings the crazy like Barbara Lee.

    District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act: Would address the District of Columbia’s long-standing grievance over lack of representation in Congress by turning over the district to Maryland except for a “National Capital Service Area” that includes the Capitol, the White House and monuments on the National Mall.

    Probably not a bad idea. DC has grown into a pretty large metropolis, and it would be better if its citizens had more direct representation.

    SPA Act: Would prohibit the operation of the House gym during a government shutdown. The Shutdown Prioritization Act was introduced during the 16-day federal government shutdown in October.

    There should be a lot more things that get shutdown during shutdowns. This is small potatoes, but not otherwise objectionable.

    Anon Y. Mous (8ec442)

  6. In reading several on the list, one can’t help think that too many congresspeople have far too much time on their hands.

    I like it better when they are doing stupid little stuff than when they decide to dedicate themselves to getting things done. Almost always, when they get things done, they are bad things.

    Anon Y. Mous (8ec442)

  7. District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act: Would address the District of Columbia’s long-standing grievance over lack of representation in Congress by turning over the district to Maryland except for a “National Capital Service Area” that includes the Capitol, the White House and monuments on the National Mall.

    I would vote for this. The “Federal City” was never intended to be a place of permanence residence, and I am sick and tired of hearing all the D.C. voters kvetch about not having representation in Congress (read: two more Democrat Senators with the strong likelihood that at least one if not both would be left-wing African-Americans). Giving D.C. back to Maryland makes all the sense in the world to me: it’s a hopelessly blue state anyway, so Dems aren’t going to be netting anything more than expanded majorities in the Maryland legislature.

    JVW (9946b6)

  8. 6. …I like it better when they are doing stupid little stuff than when they decide to dedicate themselves to getting things done. Almost always, when they get things done, they are bad things.

    Comment by Anon Y. Mous (8ec442) — 4/21/2014 @ 9:51 pm

    Almost always. But not always. How about a “Fix The Damn Farm Bill” bill.

    Shakedown: Treasury now seizing tax refunds from adult children to pay parents’ decades-old Social Security debts

    When I say “debts,” I don’t mean loans that the parents willingly sought from SSA. It would be bad enough to hold a kid responsible for that (since when are children responsible for their parents’ obligations?), but at least it would have been voluntarily incurred by mom/dad. The “debts” here are overpayments of Social Security benefits, the product of SSA’s own errors. The parents who received them might not have even realized they were getting money they weren’t supposed to have. And now, somehow, it’s junior’s problem.

    But wait. It gets worse.

    “It was a shock,” said Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”

    …How can they demand restitution for a mistaken payment made in the late 1970s, let alone from someone who didn’t even receive it? Because: The farm bill that passed in 2011 lifted the 10-year statute of limitations on debts owed to the feds. Treasury has collected more than $400 million since then on very old obligations, many of them below the radar of public scrutiny because the amounts are often small enough, i.e. a few hundred dollars, that the targets find it’s cheaper to pay up than to fight. It’s a shakedown, based on the flawed assumption that a child not only must have benefited from the overpayment to his parent but that he/she received the entirety of the benefit, with little proof offered that the debt even exists.

    Congress needs to reinstate the statute of limitations. Congress needs to require the agencies to document the death. And, last but not least, these agencies can only collect the debt from the individual(s) who received the payments. If their deceased, they can make a claim against the estate but only if the estate hasn’t been settled. If all the property has been transferred, the final accounting is complete, the estate has been closed, and probate is finished then too bad so sad.

    You missed your chance feds.

    Steve57 (013200)

  9. *…document the death debt.*

    Steve57 (013200)

  10. The SPA Act, as described here, is utterly idiotic. In recent years, shutdowns have been caused by *failure of the legislature to act*. Preventing the legislature from operating during a shutdown seems like it would set up a situation in which the shutdown becomes permanent, because the legislature isn’t allowed to operate and so therefore can’t take the acts needed to end the shutdown.

    aphrael (db1491)

  11. Ah, never mind. I missed the word ‘gym’ and just saw ‘prohibit the operation of the House’, which would be idiotic. The actual law as described seems reasonable.

    It seems logical to me that no *services* (gym, cafeteria, etc) should operate during a shutdown.

    aphrael (db1491)

  12. Yes to the DC reunion act – I’ve been saying this for years.

    Amphipolis (d3e04f)

  13. Good news, business as usual is a success:

    Inflation-adjusted federal tax revenues hit an all-time record of $1,428,710,000,000 from the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 through April 15, the deadline for filing federal tax returns for 2013, according to the Daily Treasury Statement.

    .. This daily statement includes an accounting of total “Federal Tax Deposits” thus far in the fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1 and ends on Sept. 30. Total “Federal Tax Deposits” include withheld income and employment taxes, individual income taxes, railroad retirement taxes, excise taxes, corporation income taxes, federal unemployment taxes, estate and gift taxes and miscellaneous Internal Revenue Service receipts.

    Do not expect this rosy current assessment to prevail after this time next year.

    gary gulrud (384f70)

  14. I remember Playboy running an article around 1970 in which some Dem Senator proposed that we create a “Department of Peace” – don’t remember off hand who proposed it. Might have McGovern or Gene McCarthy. Might have been a member of the House of Reps, but my point is that this idea is probably as old as Dennis Kucinich and just as sensible.

    Ira (27502b)

  15. Apollo landing:

    Does the U.S. claim the territory? I don’t think so, in spite of the flag(s) How are sites in Antarctica marked if you want to commemorate something? And doesn’t Donna Edwards realize we not only have no vehicle to go to the moon, we can’t even launch satelliotes into orbit right now.

    Read the bill act:

    This is a way to stop legislation – or make the laws shorter. Why are Declarations of war, of all things, exempt? This law would actually be a rules change, and not require the signature of the President, or the consent of the other body of Congress.

    District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act

    That’s a serious bill, but has anybody consulted Maryland?

    SPA Act

    Something like this could pass, if there’s another budget crisis.

    Sammy Finkelman (0e1021)

  16. 8. Comment by Steve57 (013200) — 4/22/2014 @ 12:15 am

    The farm bill that passed in 2011 lifted the 10-year statute of limitations on debts owed to the feds

    This is the result of absurd way Congress does budgeting.

    They changed an unrelated law in order to bring the cost of the farm bill down.

    The farm bill is also only for five years, this is not even for only ten years, but they’re going back 40 years to collect debts. It’s a bonanza!

    The CBO scored it as a big moneymaker, and nobody opposes people paying what they owe.

    Never mind that till now, nobody thought going back more than ten years was fair. Usually that’s about the maximum statute of limitations for being sued.

    They were also chargimng children for debts incurred by the parents (on the theory maybe they inherited money, so the estate should have paid it.)

    Sammy Finkelman (0e1021)

  17. Regarding the “Read The Bills Act” -
    I believe I’m already on record here (and certainly at other sites around the blogosphere) as recommending that it be considered a CAPITAL OFFENSE to *NOT* read a bill before voting to pass it.

    I’m dead serious.

    As should be these careless people we’ve elected to represent us in the US Congress.

    Knowing they could be taken out and shot (or hanged, electrocuted, or pentothal-ed) for violating the trust of their constituents would –one hopes– “focus their minds wondrously”.

    We really DO need some way to persuade these guys to represent We-The-People instead of exclusively focusing on what will enhance the power and status of their political party.

    A_Nonny_Mouse (630912)


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