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.