"Think Your Lawmakers Don’t Read Bills? Do It Yourself" (Washington Post) (3/1/06)

Washington Post spotlights ReadtheBill.org on the Federal Page.

(Note: ReadtheBill.org’s DeGennaro blogs in agreement with Mann’s comment in the article.)

excerpts follow:


“Think Your Lawmakers Don’t Read Bills? Do It Yourself.”

by Zachary A. Goldfarb
March 1, 2006, p. A15

Rafael DeGennaro watched for more than 15 years as lawmakers added “earmarks” to bills that would benefit their home districts, first as a Democratic aide in the House and then as co-founder and president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Now he has launched the nonprofit ReadtheBill.org to pressure Congress to post bills online 72 hours before they can be called up on the floor. He hopes citizens will search through proposed legislation for questionable items.

“The Capitol building has become a giant rubber stamp approving any paper dragged out in the dead of night,” DeGennaro said. “If citizens read the bills, lawmakers will get worried and start doing their jobs.”

Bills — hundreds of pages long and full of legal and bureaucratic jargon — are usually drafted in public. But lawmakers are able to slide in questionable provisions when public attention is not focused on legislation, especially during the conference sessions between House and Senate committees that negotiate differences in legislation — behind closed doors.