Some political neophytes may actually believe that their Congressmen works hard reading and dissecting every bill which has been placed on his or her desk. They might also believe that when he or she votes for or against a piece of legislation, a full understanding of every section of the bill is the reason for a ‘yay’ or ‘nay.’ This would be an erroneous assumption about everything above.
The truth is far more upsetting. Most pieces of legislation are passed along party lines; Congressmen rarely read them and know the possible repercussions from the bill’s content. If bills are actually read by anyone, it was most likely the responsibility of a Congressional Aide, who then explains it to his or her boss.
Thursday the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act. It passed by a vote of 300-119. The cost is a whopping $585 billion to budget the Department of Defense.
The bill contained 1,648 pages. A reporter asked a Democratic member of the House if he read the bill before voting in favor of the legislation. When he said ‘no,’ the question became ‘why.’ He said he ‘trusts the leadership, referring to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He should have read it.
Besides funding the military at home and abroad, it earmarks money to fight ISIS and ‘other foreign contingencies.’ But it also contained some upsetting sections.
While in front of the camera, our Congressmen and the President praise our military and ‘thank them for their service.’ Reading the 2015 NDAA their true opinions of our service men and women is revealed. US soldiers will receive cuts to their benefits and ‘other services.’ They served their purpose in battle; it’s time for them to take care of themselves.
It also cuts subsidies for commissaries. This is where military families grocery shop. $100 million will no longer be available to allow our soldiers and their families to buy food at a reasonable price.
And of course there are ‘pork’ projects hidden inside the 1,648 pages of this huge spending bill.
Several land deals are included. One gives a foreign mining company 2,400 acres of land in an Arizona national forest. This particular area was revered homeland to the Apache natives of the area.
Other bills which will be ‘fast-tracked’ through Congress include tax breaks, but not for the working class, and funding for Medicare to allow senior men to buy ‘penis pumps’ to counteract erectile dysfunction. (Of course no proviso was made for young women to have abortions or purchase birth control; that would be a waste of money.)
Congress passed a resolution in 2010 to guarantee that each bill before Congress would be available for the public to read 72 hours before a vote was taken. When the Affordable Care Act was before Congress, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ignored the resolution and fast tracked the bill.
How can Congress be forced to read the legislation they vote for? It can’t and it won’t happen. According to Congressmen, they are too busy. They’re busy courting campaign donors and supporters; in other words, they spend most of their time and your money campaigning.
By James Turnage