Monday, February 16, 2015

Sneaky ‘Riders’ Causing Gridlock in Congress

Good Day World!

Congress has resorted to extortion, not governance, ever since the the advent of “riders;” unrelated legislation attached to another bill like a parasite.

Our government will never work if parties always try to put in unrelated legislation, that could not pass on its own merit, into other bills.

The basic flaw in the lawmaking process today needs to be redressed with legislation banning “riders,” on unrelated bills.


John Boehner, the Republican House of Representatives speaker, said he is willing to let funding for the Department of Homeland Security lapse as part of a Republican push to roll back President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.

In other words, Boehner and cronies are trying to sneak an unrelated bill on immigration into the funding of Homeland Security, and if they don’t get their way they intend to retaliate by taking punitive action against the department.

Riders are usually created as a tactic to pass a controversial provision that would not pass as its own bill. Occasionally, a controversial provision is attached to a bill not to be passed itself but to prevent the bill from being passed (in which case it is called a wrecking amendment or poison pill).

The use of riders is prevalent and customary in the Congress of the United States, as there are no legal or other limitations on their use.

That’s just wrong. We know that by the results ‘riders” have on getting legislation passed. It’s a low-down sneaky way to get objectionable bills passed.

To counteract riders, 43 of the 50 U.S. states have provisions in their state constitutions allowing the use of line item vetos so that the executive can veto single objectionable items within a bill, without affecting the main purpose or effectiveness of the bill.

In addition, the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 was passed to allow the President of the United States to veto single objectionable items within bills passed by Congress, but the Supreme Court struck down the act as unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York.

I think Congress should go the route that 43 states have taken regarding riders. Line-item vetoes make sense.

Congress is dysfunctional at best, but when you add riders as a way to sneak bills into passage, you get our current version of Congress – a pathetic group of partisan party-goers more interested in advancing their ideology than in serving the American people.

Time for me to walk on down the road…


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