Freshman Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania has sponsored HR 3806, “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA).
Congress routinely passes unpopular laws. How? They combine them with unrelated bills that are sure to pass (aka Pork Spending).
The “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA) would prevent this.
The REAL ID Act is a perfect example of how Congressional leaders pass laws that lack majority support. This bill created a scheme Americans have always opposed, a national ID card.
This idea had so little support that it couldn’t even be brought to a vote in the Senate. Yet, Congressional leaders got it passed anyway, by attaching it to a bill senators were afraid to oppose, the “Emergency, Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief.” (May, 2005). Senators were scared to reject funding for the troops in Iraq and tsunami relief, so the REAL ID Act became the law of the land.
OSTA would prevent such outrages by requiring that each bill must be about one subject only.
Any legislation passed in violation of this requirement would be considered null-and-void by the courts.
If HR 3806 passes, politicians will no longer be able to hide the true subjects of their bills behind propagandistic titles such as the “Patriot Act,” the “Protect America Act,” or the “No Child Left Behind Act.” No one wants to be accused of voting against patriotism, or protecting America, or of wanting to leave children behind.
But none of those titles actually describes the subjects of those bills.
Therefore, OSTA requires that all titles describe what a bill will actually do, so that Congress and the public can know what the “one subject” is.
OSTA will (1) Make bills shorter and easier to understand (2) Replace propagandistic titles with descriptive names (3) Require that all new laws are favored by a real Congressional majority and (4) Render bills that violate these requirements unenforceable.
OSTA is a great idea, but it remains to be seen if the same Congress that freely uses the ploy of burying bills within bills now will vote to prevent itself from doing so.
That is like expecting Congress, which routinely spends beyond its budget, to pass an irrevocable law to limit its own spending.
I encourage you to contact your congressperson and “demand” that they co-sponsor, strongly support and vote yes on any OSTA legislation.
You can follow the legislation at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php by searching bill number HR 3806.