Remove unrelated riders from bills

Remove unrelated riders from bills

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JAMAL KHAWAJA started this petition to Representative Nancy Pelosi and

On December 3, 2019, Democratic leaders slipped something extra into a short term funding measure designed to keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown: a three-month extension of the Patriot Act, the post-9/11 law that gave the federal government sweeping surveillance and search powers and circumvented traditional law-enforcement rules. This was rider was attached by House Democratic leadership specifically to forestall scrutiny and debate. By tucking the measure into a must-pass bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced many members who oppose the Patriot Act to vote in favor of its extension. 

The technique of appending substantive provisions to appro- priations bills has become a favorite tool of the legislative trade in recent years. Congress has employed appropriations riders to dic- tate the outcome of public policy issues ranging from abortion to oil development in pristine wilderness areas. In many cases, the policies affected were the result of decades of activity in Congress and in the courts, and retain broad public and legislative support. Appropriations riders have also allowed these significant changes in policy to be made without public input or legislative accountability. The policy changes implemented through the appropriations process would likely not survive the scrutiny of committees and full floor debate. 

Inserting policy directives in spending bills bypasses the traditional process, which allows for more careful review and scrutiny of proposed legislation. Appropriations bills are intended to allocate funding to government agencies to ensure that they are capable of fulfilling their missions and performing essential functions. 

Riders have no place in the appropriations process. They are unpopular and controversial with voters in both parties. And by sneaking them into must-pass budget legislation, lawmakers are trying to avoid a real debate and showing that Congress isn’t looking out for regular Americans.

Senator Rand Paul (R – Kentucky) and Rep. Mia Love (R - Utah) have both introduced the “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA) as H.R. 4335 in the House and S. 1572 in the Senate.
 
As its name implies, the One Subject at a Time Act would require that each bill or resolution considered by Congress embrace no more than one subject and that the title of all bills and resolutions clearly and descriptively express the subject of the measure.


We the undersigned demand that HR 4335 and S 1572 be immediately presented to Congress immediately and without delay for a clean up or down vote. We also urge congressmen and congresswomen to do the right thing and vote aye for the passage of these bills. If they do not, bear in mind that the next election cycle is just around the corner. 

 

 

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