“Not one member of the Senate will read this bill before we vote on it,” said Sen. Rand Paul, last Friday. The junior senator from Kentucky had received the 600-page monstrosity mere hours before, and yet the august solons managed to pass it by a huge majority before close-of-business.
The legislation tackled three big funding extensions — another grab-bag “omnibus” bill in all but name. Obviously a rush job, even with the short turn-around it was too late for the president to sign that weekend.
By Senate internal rules, bills are supposed to be delivered 48 hours before any vote, to give time for senators to peruse their content. “We ought to adhere to our own rules,” said Sen. Paul, who went on to note that 48 hours isn’t that much time to read and comprehend everything in a bill of such length.
Such is the chaos in the Senate, run, apparently, like a business set on course to fail.
In a perhaps quixotic attempt to re-insert some sense of responsibility in the underachieving outfit, Paul has introduced two pieces of legislation, one requiring a day’s wait for every 20 pages of a bill, before voting, another designed to prohibit bills on more than one subject.
Frankly, I’d rather require every senator who votes on a law to be present in the chamber while the law in question is read aloud.
And the “one subject rule” is the kind of thing that many states have, regulating citizen-initiated measures. What’s foisted on the people should definitely be yoked onto the Senate, which obviously needs an omnibus-load of tough “love.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.