Read the Bills: Common Sense Representation

Can you both read and understand a massive 1,582-page bill filled with complex legal references to the U.S. Code1 in less than two days?

At 8 PM on January 13, 2014, a 1,582-page, $1.012 trillion-dollar spending bill called the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 20142 was made available to members of Congress. The House passed the bill less than two days later at 4:18 PM on January 15, 2014.3 Notice all four Utah Congressman voted for it, including my opponent Congressman Jason Chaffetz.4

After passing the House, it passed the Senate on January 16th5 and was then signed into law by President Obama on January 17th.

Here is the amended January 13, 2014 version. See how fast you can read 1,582 pages:

Do you think your congressmen had other tasks to do during those two days? Should we expect Congress to both read and debate bills?

Common-Sense Representation

  • Understand that every law requires force or penalties to uphold it
  • Do not allow special-interest groups to write bills
  • Beware of foxes: Behind carefully-worded language may be danger including legalized plunder, reductions in freedom and liberty and attempts to undo the U.S. Constitution
  • Require elected officials to personally read and understand all bills. Change can begin with just one virtuous member of Congress who faithfully sticks to his or her principles. If Congress complies you can bet they will create much smaller bills—even one-page bills.
  • Hear testimonies from valid opposition groups, not just carefully selected people hired to voice weak straw-man opposition
  • Openly debate each bill
  • Compare decisions against formulas for good government
  • Test by repeating these steps

Can we in good conscience re-elect lawmakers who don’t read their bills? If elected, I promise I will vote Yes only to bills I read and study carefully.

Let’s thank Congressman Jason Chaffetz for his six years of public service and release him so he can serve his country in another capacity. Vote Robert Stevens for Congress. Let me show you what I can do.

Footnotes

1U.S. Code

2H.R. 3547: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014. Some versions are single spaced and others are doubled spaced.

Bill Text Versions of H.R.3547 for the 113th Congress. Notice the bill started out as the Space Launch Indemnification Act and the title was later changed to become known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Although the titles changed, they are both H.R. 3547.

The Committee on Appropriations worked on the bill for several months and did not finish the bill until January. Congress did not have access to the bill until it wasn’t released on 8 PM on January 13, 2014.

3Concurring in the Senate Amendments with an Amendment, Jan 15, 2014 4:18 p.m., Passed 359/67

4H R 3547 VOTE RESULTS. Utah Congressmen Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz, Jim Matheson and Chris Stewart all voted for H.R. 3547

5Senate Vote on H.R. 3547. Notice the votes from Utah’s Senators: Hatch YEA and Lee NAY.