US Legislature: No Riders for You, Bill

Discussion in 'Politics' started by hypewaders, May 12, 2010.

  1. hypewaders Save Changes Moderator



    Where I live, "normal" people still hitch-hike. I still stop to offer a lift when I'm driving along and notice someone who appears to want a lift. I've never stopped to pick up a rider in D.C. though, because it's not like my neck of the woods.

    Our legislature should be forbidden from picking up riders on official business. It's much too dangerous for democracy inside the Beltway. Riders picked up in legislation too often are not what they seem. Sometimes riders sabotage a bill that is on track to become a necessary law, even though the rider-assailant has no relationship. Sometimes a small dose of poison is injected in a bill that does pass- in a technique of "gotcha" politics we often hear during election season that "Senator ____ voted for _____ ! What a _____!" Riders are most commonly used to insert "pork" into legislation, routinely opening our treasury to uncontrolled federal spending.

    Our Constitution bestows a democratic republic, but this long-accepted back-channel in the legislative process blatantly undermines the principles of representative democracy in the USA. Like threads in a forum, things go better one issue at a time: If an issue does not fall under a clear and specific definition that must be required at any bill's introduction, then the same process (as distilled for basic civics education in an old Schoolhouse Rock song) should begin again for any separate issue- from the beginning, and even if the tune seems tiresome. Separate bills for separate issues, each to stand or fall on their own merits. If such reform should slow down the process of lawmaking, then all the better, so be it.

    Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law (full original clip 3:01 youtube)​
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
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  3. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    There is little doubt that legislative riders have been abused in the past. But I am not sure that outlawing them is the right approach. Have you ever tried to get 500 plus people to agree on something? It is a monumental task...especially when you have each of those 500 plus people be pressured by every special interest in town to do this or that.

    The rider, used correctly, can be used to help speed up the legislative process...a short cut if you will. And that can be a good thing. Riders should be fully disclosed and debated, too often they are not....placed in bills hours before voting with no notice and no disclosure.

    So I don't think we need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
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  5. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

    Each law should stand on its own and be voted up or down. Democracy means nothing without transparency. Allowing politicians to pass laws they never had to stick their necks out and vote for is a recipe for untold mischief.

    Throw out the baby, the bathwater, and the whole damned tub.
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  7. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Where did I say that there should not be transparency? I didn't. I said ridders should be singled out and fully disclosed.

    You can have ridders and transparency. It is not an either or nothing proposition. Too often in the past, these little ridders get packaged into legislation in the 11th hour with no disclosure and that is wrong.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Springfield/Pervert Bill

    Kenny Brockelstein: "I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Democracy just doesn't work."

    I think the real problem is that people need to elect better leaders.
  9. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I'm going to have to agree with our resident charlton heston here.

    Fuck the riders, simplify our corrupt legislative system.
  10. siledre Registered Senior Member

    someone should sneak in a rider that fires all of congress and the legislature.
  11. WillNever Valued Senior Member

    Our national government DID once have the ability to eliminate those riders (also called earmarks) through something called the "line item veto" that was briefly enacted by Congress during Bill Clinton's presidency. It was a very useful tool, which allowed president Clinton to selectively strike out individual portions of each bill that came before him, so that he could better shape the law. Its primary purpose was to reduce spending. It worked well... until a jealous Mayor Rudy Giuliani filed a lawsuit against Clinton and caused the line item veto to be struck down in the supreme court. Thanks paisan.

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    source: I am well-versed in Con Law, and this all happened over ten years ago, as an FYI for those who have just "come into the fray," as it were.
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  12. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Hear, hear. Well said.

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