Should Lawmakers, Um, Read the Laws They're Voting On?: Sounds like something you'd ask in a third-grade civics class. But an odd editorial in today's Washington Post, takes to task "a group of well-meaning professional activists — and, so far, over nearly 60,000 online petitioners" who have demanded that members of Congress sign a pledge "never to vote on any bill unless they have read every word of it.". . . At some point, it's fine for members of Congress to rely on expert staff members."...But I know that there are plenty of people who agree with what the editorial is saying, and who think that there's no point in demanding the impossible.
I'm not a fool - I know full well that not a single member of Congress read every word of, say, the 1,427-page Waxman-Markley energy bill. But I think we give up something valuable if we accept that as acceptable behavior. I guess it didn't occur to the editorialists at the Post that if members of Congress actually tried to live up to this most basic obligation, that 1,427-page long bills would no longer be introduced, which would surely, all other things being equal, be a good thing for the Republic.
Glenn Reynolds of instapundit comments "That's not a bug, that's a feature." I agree, if Congress spent more time actually THINKING about what they are inflicting upon the country, they'd spend far less time actually doing it. Perhaps if we, as a country actually required our elected representatives to actually read what they are enacting BEFORE it's voted on, as well as well as providing public access to every single bill presented before Congress, we might have far more sanity in our government. That's something that's been sadly lacking over the past twenty years.