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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Conyers on Reading Legislation

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Conyers on Reading Legislation

An old joke asks, "What's the difference between ignorance and apathy?"  The answer is, "I don't know and I don't care."  Both are encountered in the classroom, and apparently in the halls of Congress.  In my post, "Congress Should Be More Like College," I expressed concern over ignorant members of Congress who excused themselves from voting for legislation by claiming they had not read it.  (HT Drudge) Now comes Congressman John Conyers (Mich.), representing the apathetic (Nicholas Ballasy, "Conyers Sees No Point in Members Reading 1,000-Page Health Care Bill--Unless They Have 2 Lawyers to Interpret It for Them,", July 27, 2009).
“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.

“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”
John, vote no for all bills that you do not read and do not understand.  It will tell Congressional leaders, of which you are one, to slow down, your moving too fast, you have to make good decisions that last.

In my above cited post, I suggested a  reform that would require members of the House and Senate to pass a test on a bill before they vote on it.  If they fail enough tests, they cannot vote on the legislation.  If they fail more than 70% of their tests, they would be put on probation, and their constituents would be notified.  If they do not improve their test scores, they would lose eligibility to run for reelection.

I wonder where Congressman Conyers stands on educational reform?
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