Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Proposal for the 28th Amendment

Two stories worthy of note:

Many Americans are aptly frustrated with their representative government, and for many reasons. The largest spending bill in United States history was passed in early 2009 with few members of Congress reading it. Presently we have massive health care legislation before Congress, and it appears this will be no different. It seems fairly non-partisan to ask: how can Congress do its job responsibly if its members won't read the bills?

If one knew only what was reported in main stream news stories one is likely to think anyone who opposes the health care bill is extremist and racist. But in reading for oneself the bills before Congress a different opinion may arise. Aside from the legislation itself, the game of politics is known around the world to be one of deception and corruption. While Republicans and critics of all political stripes are accused of lying and exaggerating elements of the health care legislation, it appears there is legitimate concern over the unwritten results of a government takeover of American health care:

The status quo of the day in Washington is to write massive legislation, rush it through Congress, and with selective attention to detail by Congress and journalists alike. The politics of personal destruction is used to attack those who disapprove of the government health care initiative coupled with lying and misrepresentations of the legislation, which is exactly what the critics of that legislation are accused of doing. And it turns out those critics actually do have good reason to oppose the legislation.

Returning to the issue of Congress' unwillingness to read its own legislation, we the people have seen too many examples of Congress willing to spend other people's money with little regard for accountability while selectively using the argument of accountability to attack their political opponents when expedient. We heard many complaints about deficit spending during George W. Bush's presidency and now a bill encompassing $1 trillion in borrowed money meets with little resistance from those same critics. Unruly and manufactured protests were common and lauded during the Bush years (with much insistence such protests were genuine) and yet today any dissent from the Obama administration is treated with contempt and accusations of being politically manufactured, not merely by leftist journalists but also by members our government. Serious problems are found in the health care legislation currently before the Congress and have been exposed, yet are largely ignored by its supporters. And now we hear dissent from the government is un-American.

In light of these grievances we the people of the United States therefore propose this amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. If Congress is going to act like spoiled children they should be treated as such.

Amendment XXVIII: amending Article 1, creating Section 11

1. All final legislation, before the final vote, shall be read aloud in its entirety in the main chamber to the House of Representatives on the same day of the vote; and likewise for the Senate. The reading shall be performed in person only by the Speaker of the House to the House of Representatives, and only by the Senate President Pro Tempore to the Senate.

2. The place, date and time of the legislation reading shall be publicly announced no earlier than 7 days before the day of the vote and shall not be changed once announced unless canceled, nor shall it commence before the appointed time. Any member of Congress not physically present in the appointed place during the entirety of the reading shall not vote on said legislation.


  1. Sad. I fear what our nation has become. I see many of the same patterns emerging that brought Nazi Germany. Sometime I wonder if there will be another war of the states. Needless to say there is a darkness covering our land.

  2. This sounds like the "Read The Bills Act" at Making Congress read the bills in entirety before a quorum would force them to slow down and pass legislation that is actually readable and understandable. And every member who intends to vote in the affirmative "must sign a sworn affidavit, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has attentively either personally read, or heard read, the complete bill to be voted on."

  3. I personally don't have much faith in an affidavit from a career politician affirming they've done anything. This 28th Amendment proposal assumes those officials won't change their poor habits but will instead require they be subjected to the end product of their "work" in its entirety. They are acting like children who refuse to do their chores, and so I think they should be treated as such. Plus, it's a lot easier to water down a "Read The Bills Act" over time than it is to dilute a constitutional amendment.