Federal Legislative Criteria

This is a idea I’ve been kicking around for a while. Has anyone here ever asked his or her Congressman or Senators what criteria they rely on when they write a bill, co-sponsor a bill or vote on a bill? If you’ve ever read a House or Senate bill, particularly one of the uber-long and complicated ones like The Affordable Care Act or Dodd-Frank, you’ve probably wondered if there are any criteria at all, other than to make it so long and complicated that no one will or can read it. I’ll bet, without a great deal of effort, we here at B4V can come up with a comprehensive list of criteria that we could forward to Congress in the form of an open letter.

Number one, IMO, would be, what is the goal of the legislation, and is the means to achieve that goal allowed by the Constitution?

Second: do the projected benefits outweigh the projected costs? (ie. can we afford it?)

Third: Has the issue been addressed before, and, if so, what was faulty about previous legislation that prevented it from solving the problem? IOW, is it a new idea, or has it been tried before?

Fourth: will the proposed legislation duplicate any existing program/s (think the dozens of federal jobs and job training programs currently in existence)?

Fifth: is there a sunset provision in the bill in the event that (a) it doesn’t achieve the stated goal, or (b) it does achieve the stated goal?

Well, I think you get the idea. Everyone feel free to chip in. I have a feeling we can come up with a very long list, most of which will come as a complete and utter surprise to our lawmakers.

65 thoughts on “Federal Legislative Criteria

  1. Amazona February 7, 2013 / 3:40 pm

    Spook, I really like your ideas. I would add to your list a short brief (!) on just how this new legislation meets the criteria of the 10th Amendment, and I would require that a new bill be written by its sponsor, as well as that it be quite short.

    No more omnibus bills that are huge, unwieldy, and offer great hiding places for pork and earmarks.

    • neocon01 February 7, 2013 / 3:59 pm

      Here is one…….How about they follow current law??

      • 01canadianobserver February 8, 2013 / 7:08 am

        Would they be willing to address why Bills are accompanied by so much pork? The Fiscal cliff deal, for instance, includes at least $67.9 billion for special interests. Is this acceptable?

      • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 10:36 am

        “Is this acceptable?”

        No. But implementing Spook’s ideas, and mine, would solve that problem.

        A bill that is specific to its goal and addresses or includes nothing BUT that will eliminate earmarks, so a bill designed just to enrich a constituency will have to stand on its own.

        It is one thing to stick some pork into a large omnibus bill that is too long and cumbersome and complex to be read anyway, and quite another to have to have it stand as a separate bill.

      • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 10:40 am

        “Here is one…….How about they follow current law??”

        That’s fine, neo, if the current law is concise and well written and stands alone and not as part of a mess of inclusions of things that have nothing to do with the law.

        I am saying we need to strip our laws down to basics. Spook is saying we need to get rid of redundant laws. We are both saying all laws have to comply with the Constitution before they are passed.

      • M. Noonan February 8, 2013 / 12:30 pm


        Fundamentally, things like loading up a must-pass bill with pork is symptomatic of our Ruling Class’ contempt for we, the people…they simply don’t care,,,but they are still fearful enough of us to prevent them from voting openly on a stand-alone bill which is nothing but pork. Overwhelmingly it is Democrats who are like this, but I’d guess that about 40% of the GOP is also guilty of this sort of nonsense.

        This is why we need a revolution – with God’s grace, a peaceful one fought out entirely at the ballot box – in order to completely overturn our current system.

  2. Cluster February 7, 2013 / 4:27 pm

    Some great ideas Spook, but how about if we insist on them just reading the bills to begin with?

    • neocon01 February 7, 2013 / 4:41 pm


      MANY of them cant speak (real) English let alone be able to read. and Comprehension? Pffffftttttt

      Maxine Waters
      Cynthia McKinney
      Sheila Jackson Lee
      charley wrangle
      and a box of rocks

      just to mention a few

  3. J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) February 7, 2013 / 4:39 pm

    Bills should be short and concise enough that they can be read in a reasonable period of time, say 72 hours, and legislators should not be allowed to vote on a bill they haven’t read. Although, absent giving every Congress Critter a polygraph, I’m not sure how you would enforce that. Also, bills, as least major bills, should be posted on the Internet for public review.

    • neocon01 February 7, 2013 / 4:42 pm


      they are supposed to be posted for 48 hours before the vote….refer to the video a few threads back

  4. mitchethekid February 7, 2013 / 4:43 pm

    Your ideas, great or not won’t get the time of day from congress. Do you actually think the members will pay any attention? For some reason, your group seems to think it’s in charge and has posted comment after comment after comment predicated with the assumption that you have the power to be paid attention to and to influence domestic policy. You don’t. In fact, your type of conservatives are being attacked by the likes of Rove, have deplorable public approval ratings and are all but laughed off the public stage. You would be better off posting your suggestions in a 1950’s suggestion box, for all the good it will do you. Forget the content. I agree with you, but as Robin Williams once said; “you may have had an hour glass figure but your time is up”.

    • Retired Spook February 7, 2013 / 4:47 pm

      Forget the content. I agree with you

      Well, then my effort wasn’t totally wasted, Mitche.

      • mitchethekid February 7, 2013 / 7:50 pm

        No it wasn’t and I agree with you. The problem is reality. And conservatives problem is refusing to accept it.

      • Cluster February 7, 2013 / 8:07 pm

        Aw yes the liberal reality, of not reading legislation before voting on it, running up irresponsible debt, ignoring unsustainable entitlement programs, excusing leaders who are absent during foreign crisis’s, and demonizing those who have the temerity to point these facts out.

        All fully supported by our dear friend Watson.

        Isn’t liberalism great!!

      • Cluster February 7, 2013 / 8:08 pm

        Supported by Mitch – excuse me. But then again liberals are one in the same.


      • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 10:46 am

        This “reality” that has mitche so giddy is really nothing but the illusion created and successfully peddled by the Left with the reliable assistance of the Complicit Agenda Media.

        mitche’s emperor is a sharp-dressed man, and mitche not only pays homage to the wardrobe only he and his fellow travelers can see, he defines these illusions as “reality”.

        It’s pretty funny to have those who can see through the illusions dismissed as not “accepting reality”.

      • Cluster February 8, 2013 / 10:53 am

        The Illusion Based Community! I see a thread coming.

    • neocon01 February 7, 2013 / 4:57 pm


      57 million votes.

      yeah laughed off the stage……….but hey illegals and useful idiots………

      • mitchethekid February 7, 2013 / 8:13 pm

        Obama won by over 10 million votes compared to Romney and by a little more compared to McCain. So what’s your point? To continue to prove how delusional your are with all this garbage about “illegals” and how the President is a gay Muslim and now, a needle using addict? Do you have no self awareness at all? You cannot provide one scintilla of reputable, verifiable evidence that these repeated, insane claims you make have any validity or substance. What they are, are the hate focused resentments of an ignorant old man who knows nothing , refuses to learn and is proud of it. Frankly, every time you post these convictions of yours, you further degrade what ever credibility this blog has and the fact that the moderator has allowed you to do so…and for years just proves how inconsequential this blog truly is. Everything you stand for is finally being ripped to shreds in the public domain. Rove targeting extremism. Fox News ratings at a 10 yr low. The public’s disgust with Tea Partiers. Dick Army getting a multi-million dollar settlement from Freedom Works.(Oh! The rank hypocrisy!) Failed candidates trying to cash in with Pacs. And the hits keep on a comin’.
        If you guys were truly conservative, you’d get rid of the wack jobs like Neo and engage in some intellect. Sadly, this is what you’re left with. Crazy people.

      • Cluster February 7, 2013 / 8:31 pm

        I sure would hate to be left with crazy people:

      • Cluster February 7, 2013 / 8:33 pm

        It would just suck to be left with just crazy people

      • Jeremiah February 7, 2013 / 9:28 pm


        you’re probably right about 10% of what you say, but the other 90% you have no clue about what you write.

        You can stick your head in the sand, or wherever you have it stuck, deny reality and the truth. But wait ’til you need help.

        You’re the kind of sorry person I wouldn’t waste my time throwing a bucket of water on if you were on fire.

      • M. Noonan February 7, 2013 / 9:31 pm

        5 million votes – and 4.6 million less votes than he got in 2008. Meanwhile, Romney bested McCain’s total by 1 million…on the whole, I’d rather be the party that is gaining in votes than losing in votes. It might still be a defeat today, but it augurs well for the future…just as soon as we re-adjust our message and start attacking in the blue areas, the left is toast.

      • Amazona February 7, 2013 / 10:09 pm

        “It would just suck to be left with just crazy people”

        Especially since we would still be stuck with the wattle.

      • 02casper February 7, 2013 / 11:05 pm

        “the left is toast.”

        Considering that the TEA party has about 8% support (according to Rassmusen) I’m guessing that the right is more likely to be toast.

      • M. Noonan February 7, 2013 / 11:27 pm


        Yes, the phrase “TEA Party” has been demonized, so it doesn’t poll well…big deal. Still out there and now being rapidly re-energized due to Obama’s asinine (even Clinton saw it) emphasis on gun control. As I said a while back ago, I was wondering what we were going to do to regain political traction – Obama went and did it for us. Now with Jindal and Perry at the State level demonstrating the effectiveness of conservative governance and people like Paul, Cruz and Rubio (all massively popular and TEA Party to the core) in the Senate stating our case on the national stage, I feel pretty confident. What you got? Biden? Hillary?


      • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 1:59 am

        mitche, not taking sides here but it may be time to point out a few things.

        Take neo’s claims of Obama being gay. Yes, I am tired of it, too. But I also know that it is based on extensive reporting from people who knew him back when he was just a community agitator, and on testimony from a man who claims to have had homosexual relations with him. I have a feeling that for you, the only “reputable, verifiable evidence” of the man’s sexual orientation would be to share a homosexual experience with him, as you dismiss the statements of people who knew him at a time when they insist he was active in the underground gay community in Chicago.

        Technically, Obama IS a Muslim, according to the definitions within the religion itself—-a religion we are constantly enjoined to respect, yet which you seem to feel quite free to insult by ignoring one of its most basic tenets. According to Islam, one cannot stop being a Muslim, and Obama was identified as a Muslim in his early school records and admitted studying the Koran in his Islamic studies in Indonesia. By the internal structure of the religion, once he identified as a Muslim, he would be one for life, though possibly an apostate Muslim if he turned away from the faith.

        I note your bigotry, in your reference to age. Tsk tsk, that is soooo intolerant of you.

        And the rest of your rant is an odd mixture of delusion and wishful thinking, heavily seasoned with the spite and malice that define you just as clearly as neo’s statements define him.

      • neocon01 February 12, 2013 / 4:08 pm


        You cannot provide one scintilla of reputable, verifiable evidence that these repeated, insane claims you make have any validity or substance. What they are, are the hate focused resentments of an ignorant old man who knows nothing , refuses to learn and is proud of it. Frankly, every time you post these convictions of yours,

        I CAN and HAVE DOZENS of times, and I have READ HIS BOOK.
        DO TRY to educate your self.

  5. mitchethekid February 7, 2013 / 9:05 pm

    Both sides have crazy. Conservatives just have more of them and said insanity is the Republican Party platform. Get a clue. It’s not the messaging, it’s the message. And just what do these videos prove? Do wack jobs on the left absolve conservatives? Ummm. No!

    • Cluster February 7, 2013 / 9:14 pm

      So what is the republican platform Mitch. And what is crazy about it? Is balancing the budget crazy? Is keeping taxes low to allow people to keep more of their money crazy? Is securing the border crazy? Is expanding domestic energy development crazy? Is reforming entitlements crazy?

      Help me out here.

      • Cluster February 7, 2013 / 11:48 pm

        So Mitch, you identified a very small extreme minority of a broad conservative movement and proceeded to claim that unless that element is eliminated then the party is doomed for perpetual failure. Why now it then that Democrats continue to win with people like Carson, Jackson, Sharpton, Grayson, Waters, etc., amongst your ranks? They are some of the most vile racist people ever. Do you denounce them?

        You then proceed to label the GOP as old and white but I will remind you that Bush had a far more diverse cabinet than Obama does, so again, that comment is really not tethered in reality now is it?

        And finally, climate change is hardly settled science so those who do appreciate and respect science are asking for more data rather than people like you who are eager to shut down the debate. The rest of your rant is well extreme – a favorite word of liberals so I know you are familiar with it.

      • GMB February 9, 2013 / 2:09 am

        “So what is the republican platform Mitch.” Great question, maybe you should ask boehner that one. Oh, wait. He couldn’t be bothered to read it.

    • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 10:51 am

      mitche, please enlighten us.

      What IS the GOP platform?

      More to the point, what is the Dem platform?

      You are suddenly pretending to talk about politics instead of personality, by introducing what you say is the “Republican Party platform”, which you go on to define as “insanity”, so why don’t you explain it and then point out the “insane” parts.

      A point-by-point comparison of the two party platforms should would be a help, as well as a big step toward shifting blog discussions away from the superficial to actual discourse on the relative merits of the two opposing political systems.

      i am so glad you brought this up.

  6. 02casper February 7, 2013 / 9:22 pm

    Overall, I like your ideas and I would agree with Amazona’s suggestion that would require that a new bill be written by its sponsor.

  7. pelirrojito February 7, 2013 / 9:36 pm

    I would add one. That before voting on a bill, those who are voting actually understand the topic. While outside of the US, a good example is the anti cookie law in the EU. Clearly written by people who had no understanding of what a cookie is and what its used for. An example in the US would be SOPA. Those who would support SOPA, and not for money reasons, clearly don’t understand web 2.0.

    How such a test would be implemented I have no idea, but would make for better laws.

    • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 1:49 am

      Red, I agree. Another example would be the effort to ban so-called “assault weapons” with no actual definition of any such weapon, beyond a few superficial accoutrements that can be grafted onto any weapon, even a .22 or a BB gun, which only look scary to the ignorant but contribute nothing to the lethality of the weapon.

      • pelirrojito February 8, 2013 / 2:07 am

        The question becomes how to do such testing. I had a conversation about this about a year ago, though in this case about laws concerning science, and suggested that universities (being the most qualified to test knowledge in science) write the tests and judge if the person can vote. The other person made the very good point that in that case the universities would then effectively get to write the laws. In the case of guns I guess someone like the NRA would be in the same position. Of course you cant allow the public to do so, since they may be as uninformed as the people voting.

      • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 2:21 am

        I don’t see a problem with having a professional review panel to examine things for technical accuracy.

        We need to take legislation a little more seriously than we seem to do now, and I think Spook’s suggestions would move us in that direction.

        I have been thinking for quite some time that we need to do a thorough debridement of our existing body of law. We seem to pass ill-conceived laws, then be surprised at the Unintended Consequences, but instead of erasing the law and writing a better one we just slap a legislative band-aid on the problem. Of course, the “fix” too often creates its own set of Unintended Consequences, leading to more band-aids, till we are stuck with a teetering edifice of often conflicting rules within a law.

        Our tax code is a perfect example. We should not even consider trying to “fix” it but should just scrap it and start over. Ditto for Obamacare.

        I’d like to see a Congress which doesn’t fret about drug use by athletes but which takes it upon itself to go back and look at the laws on the books, evaluate them, see which overlap and which contradict others, and come up with streamlined new laws to replace the messes we have now.

  8. watsonthethird February 7, 2013 / 9:39 pm

    Spook asks, “Has anyone here ever asked his or her Congressman or Senators what criteria they rely on when they write a bill, co-sponsor a bill or vote on a bill?”

    Have you? It’s an interesting idea, but you don’t need to rely on us to do it for you. Your article would be even more interesting if you had done so and included the results of what you learned. It’s not too late!

    • Retired Spook February 8, 2013 / 9:04 am

      Have you? It’s an interesting idea, but you don’t need to rely on us to do it for you. Your article would be even more interesting if you had done so and included the results of what you learned. It’s not too late!

      Yeah, I actually have, Watson. I communicate with my Congressman and Senators on a pretty regular basis. Haven’t learned much, though, other than they respond with form letters that sometimes don’t even address what I wrote to them about in the first place. I don’t think your average Congress Critter has any interest in spending less money or making government more efficient.

      • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 10:57 am

        I have also written to my Senators, both here in Colorado and when I lived in Wyoming. I will say that although I think the replies from the Wyoming Senators were written by staff, at least they were not form letters.

        I have learned that the Representative in a neighboring district is quite accessible, and am hoping the newly elected guy in my own is, as well.

        Spook, I guess I missed the coded part of your post, the part where you are really relying on other people to contact your Congressmen for you. Will you please highlight these secret messages with ** or something, so someone other than wattie can find them?

  9. watsonthethird February 7, 2013 / 9:40 pm

    Cluster said, “All fully supported by our dear friend Watson.”

    Your obsession continues. Maybe you need to take a self-imposed timeout again.

    • Cluster February 7, 2013 / 9:47 pm

      You are one of my favorite brain dead liberals that is for sure.

      • watsonthethird February 7, 2013 / 10:02 pm

        Gee, I’m flattered.

      • Amazona February 7, 2013 / 10:11 pm

        Of course you are. But you were probably also “flattered” by the comment on your inability to come up with a decent post even after having a whole day to work on it because you thought it was really a “complaint” that it took you a whole day to come back to the blog.

        It’s probably the closest you ever get to a compliment.

      • watsonthethird February 7, 2013 / 10:55 pm

        Right, Amazona. Actually, I thought you were kind of a sad individual for even caring. Oh well. Off to dinner. Note to Amy: I will not be reading or responding to this blog for at least an hour. Do not be alarmed.

      • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 1:46 am

        Oh, you poor sad delusional little creature. How anyone could read what I said and spin it to mean I CARE is beyond belief. You need to realize how much you tell us about yourself in these posts—-for example, the compulsion to believe that ridicule is really affection, that contempt is really caring, all tie in with your pathetic obsession with insulting strangers you have sought out on the Internet. It’s all about dysfunctional personal relationships, and the inability to read people. A normal person would read what is said to you and feel insulted, maybe even hurt, and certainly discouraged. But your pathology only sees that you are getting attention and there is no discernment between bad attention and good attention—common in people who never get good attention.

  10. Cluster February 7, 2013 / 10:15 pm


    Under questioning from South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta could not explain why President Barack Obama spoke with him only once on Sept. 11, 2012 during the Benghazi terrorist attack, and never called back for any updates for over seven hours

  11. mitchethekid February 8, 2013 / 8:47 pm

    Karl Rove = The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Can’t stamp out the fires fast enough. But the building is already engulfed in flames, the Fire Department was defunded because taxes are socialistic and besides, The Phoenix arose from the flames, correct? At least to those of you receptive to the metaphor’s of Greek mythology.
    Maybe next time around the right will be more attached to reality. Funny how Shiva works. Death in one hand. Rebirth in the other. Another wonderful analogy. Sort of like the metaphor of the cross.

    • Amazona February 8, 2013 / 8:51 pm

      You call this incoherent pseudo-intellectual mishmash a “wonderful analogy”? Or are you narrowing the “analogy” comment to that of Shiva?

      In any case all you have done is illustrate a secular speaking in tongues.

      You somehow managed to outdo yourself in overall gibberish, hounded by that pesky Rogue Apostrophe.

    • Cluster February 8, 2013 / 9:50 pm


      What in the hell is wrong with you? That post was completely non sensical.

  12. mitchethekid February 8, 2013 / 9:44 pm

    Speaking in tongues. Something I am confident you can relate to, Witch. Always with the snide put down. Always trying to make yourself appear superior. More enlightened. A better grasp of language. The fact is, you are one of the most miserable people to breath my air. How horrible it must be to suffer from such grand delusions. I can’t imagine meeting you in any social situation. A party. A line in the grocery store. If you spoke to me in person like you do on line I’d be arrested.

    • Cluster February 8, 2013 / 9:52 pm

      Liberal tolerance and civility is always so heart warming.

      Mitch, I suggest you grow thicker skin.

      • mitchethekid February 8, 2013 / 10:37 pm

        Really? Why should I? After yrs of trying to contribute to this blog, my viewpoints accepted or not, I am always met with attacks and negativity. Them’s are the facts. So to suggest that I become more tolerant of the right wing insanity heaved my way should be taken as absolute calm, rationed truth is somehow a window on my personality disorders? You guys are flat out nuts. Crazy. Heebe Jeebe. Don’t take the yoke of my aircraft. In fact, I wouldn’t even let you take a lesson or walk within 100 ft of any of them.
        And Cluster, when you try to to disparage “liberals” by focusing on personal attacks as being the same as unwilling to tolerate said attacks, you just prove what a fool you are. “Yep! This guy doesn’t want to be beaten! This just proves how intolerant he is to pain”.
        None of this matters. Your “conservatives” are now in the dance of the living dead.

      • Cluster February 8, 2013 / 11:09 pm

        I can’t tell you how bad I feel for you Watson. You really do have a burden to carry. But I am curious, when have you ever been tolerant? Or offered rationed truth? Help me out here.

      • Cluster February 8, 2013 / 11:10 pm

        I mean Mitch. Geez I get you and Watson mixed up. Of course you and him do share the same mind.

      • Amazona February 9, 2013 / 10:45 am

        Oh. mitche mitche mitche, how sad that you believe you have ever contributed to this blog. You “contribute” to this blog the way you “contribute” to your toilet.

        ” Something I am confident you can relate to..”

        Oooh, a whimpering variant on the witty “I know what you are but what am I” schoolyard retort. Ouch ?

        Watching you melt down in your death spiral of insanity is not pleasant, mitche, even though it is you.

        Just a little hint, though, mitche—no one here has to pretend to be superior to you, more enlightened than you, or with a better grasp of language. Facts is just facts, cupcake, and you might as well get used to them.

        You are the blog equivalent of the guy screaming on the street corner that everyone else is crazy. You freak out because no one else agrees that your personal “reality” has any relationship to objective reality, so you squeal louder.

        BTW, I do not “breathe your air” and based on your shrill ranting I doubt that anyone else gets close enough to breathe it, either. And I wouldn’t worry about me speaking to you in person—–i am pretty sure you radiate the same aura of rage and insanity in person that you do here, and there is no reason to speak to someone like you.

        As for your reaction to me causing you to be sent to jail, if by “jail” you mean “loony bin” you are probably right. I think they’ve saved your bed for you.

      • neocon01 February 12, 2013 / 4:03 pm


        “. Don’t take the yoke of my aircraft. In fact, I wouldn’t even let you take a lesson or walk within 100 ft of any of them.”

        are those you flew in Viet Nam calling artillery strikes AFTER the war ended??

        Or are the one’s that fly with VACUUMS UNDER the wings?

        I think you have your yoke and D mixed up.

  13. Cluster February 8, 2013 / 9:55 pm

    Just to give you an idea of the caliber of Democratic voters – recently elected Illinois congressman (I think) Jesse Jackson Jr, had to resign and is now headed to prison. Good thing voters didn’t elect the republican candidate though. – that could have been really ugly.

    • mitchethekid February 8, 2013 / 11:28 pm

      Oh yeah. That proves something. A mentally ill guy who happens to be the son of someone you hate fulfills a fantasy off yours, and this alone is empirical evidence that all “liberal” office holders are guilty of some vague idea that you hold? Against “liberals”? Get a grip Sparky. You are nuts, I am sane. Jessie Jackson has emotional problems. Want to go toe to toe with conservative insanity? I dare you.

      • Cluster February 8, 2013 / 11:43 pm

        Mitch – are you drunk?

      • Amazona February 9, 2013 / 10:33 am

        I don’t think mitche is drunk. I think this is really the way his “mind” works. Under the stress of being called on his incoherence and general nastiness, the cracks widen and the mental sewage oozes out in greater volume. He just loses control. You can see him losing it. It won’t be long before he is clicking some ball bearings and muttering about the strawberries.

  14. Cluster February 8, 2013 / 9:56 pm

    Oh and it goes without saying that both Obama and the Pant Suit (Hillary), were AWOL during the Benghazi attack. But they were both there for the funerals. Because they care so much.

    • neocon01 February 9, 2013 / 3:50 pm

      the shadow is a busy lil tyke today…..

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