Government Spending

Name That Bill!


Yesterday Katherine Mangu-Ward and Peter Suderman noted freshly approved legislation that creates an "Education Jobs Fund," paying for it partly by cutting back on food stamp spending. The bill, HR 1586, also includes provisions dealing with Medicaid and various tax issues, all apparently aimed at providing "revenue offsets" to fund the subsidies for teachers. But here is the most striking thing about the bill: Members of Congress were in such a hurry to curry favor with teachers unions that they forgot to give it a name. The version that Thomas calls "Final as Passed Both House and Senate" says, "This Act may be cited as the 'XXXXXX Act of XXXX.'" At Washington Watch, Jim Harper notes that the official name is actually the "__________ Act of __________"; Thomas seems to have automatically replaced the blanks with Xs. On Sunday, Harper explained what was going on:

This is a "shell bill." It was introduced as one thing (TARP taxes), became another thing (an aviation bill), and is now a batch of spending policies….

The most recent version of the bill was produced when the Senate passed a "substitute amendment." That's an amendment that clips out everything in the bill and puts in all new text.

In the House and Senate, they often publish amendments ahead of time, and it looks like someone was in a rush to get the amendment together, because they left blank lines where the new name of the bill should have been….

And that's the way it might be signed into law.

You see, the Constitution requires both Houses of Congress to pass identical bills before they can be sent to the president and signed into law. The Senate has left town for the rest of August, and the House is coming back next week to put its stamp of approval on the bill.

President Obama wants to sign it quickly—the bill is already up on the "pending legislation" page….So the House has to approve this bill, with the name "_______Act of______."

The only other alternative is for the House to change the name and have the Senate come back for another vote.

Won't someone please give this poor bill a name?

Addendum: John Boehner has some suggestions.

[Thanks to Johnny Longtorso for the tip.]

NEXT: A Final Note About Beer Politics and Libertarian Recognition of Carter Administration Deregulation

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  1. It just keeps getting more corrupt, surreal, and retarded. When will a limit to the ridiculousness be reached? Will a limit be reached?

    1. Why are you always on about limits, Episiarch? Limits are the tool of the rich.

    2. I don’t know about you, but I’m loving it.

      1. Me too.

  2. He missed mentioning the other reason why they use shell bills:

    The Constitution requires that money bills start in the House. They get around that by taking money bills that the House already passed, and then substituting for the entire text with something else. Even though it’s entirely different, it’s still somehow technically the “same bill” that “originated in the House,” and then the House can pass the Senate version to make it law.

    Even if the original House bill that passed was about taxing bonuses at companies that received TARP money, and the Senate bill is about throwing money at unionized public servants.

    1. Yeah, it’s really breaking the law.

      It’s like stealing someone’s car or bike, then reworking it in a chop shop for later sale. Well, it’s not technically your car anymore, is it?

    2. We need a provision that requires the House and Senate bills to be within a certain range of textual similarity in order to be considered the same bill. It’s trivial to do this in software.

    3. “Senate bill is about throwing money at unionized public servants.”

      Call them what they are: Capitalist profiteers.

      1. It is not profiteering, as it is rents, not profits that are made.

  3. Cash for Clunkers is taken, dammit.

  4. The “America is no longer a serious nation Bill”

  5. How about the “Fuck Taxpaying American Citizens in the Ass Act of 2010”? Commonly known as FTACAA.

    Of course, that would not provide any meanginful way to distinguish this one from all the others they’ve been passing, as they all have that same effect.

    1. I was going to vote for the “Politics Is One Big Ass-Blast Act of 2010,” but your idea works too.

      1. Dennis: Who am I supposed to vote for? Am I supposed to vote for the?the Democrat who’s going to blast me in the ass or the Republican who’s blasting my ass?

        Mac: You see, politics is all just one big ass-blast.

  6. I can’t decide:

    Delivering Unions a Major Boost (DUMB) Act


    Frivolous Act of Ineffective Largesse (FAIL) Act

    1. *golf clap*

  7. The More You Know the Less You Eat Act of 2010.

  8. the “__________ Act of __________”;

    How about “the morally reprehensible Act of institutionalised bribery”

    1. Cute.

  9. I said the “Carnal Act of Bippy.”

  10. John Boehner is a scumbag.

    1. But a nicely tanned scumbag!

      1. Like Charlie Rangel?

        Is that racist?

        1. Need you ask?

    1. Too soon…

  11. “__________ Act of __________”

    Many women do not like the Act of intercourse.

    1. If there were any justice in the world, this would be it.

  12. “the Obama Act of Pelosi

    Or is that too obscene?

  13. This is truly blank check legislation.

  14. It’s actually a brilliant move. When the time comes to implement the spending reductions, it will be impossible for anyone to find it using the search term “Act of”.

  15. Since the fed government just does whatever its current occupiers please anyway, they may as well just do away with the Congress entirely; its existence is pointless.

  16. XXXXXX? Must be twice as obscene as hardcore porn.

    1. The X scale is based on a factor of ten. XXXXXX is a 1000 times more pornographic than mere XXX. The human body can rarely stand pornography in the XXXX range. X6 actually tears space/time and you often end watching porn of you fucking yourself while watching porn. It becomes completely recursive after X7.

      1. Oh, man, I’m less than 54 years old, guess I’m gonna need a fake ID to rent ultraporn.

  17. They haven’t updated the long title either:

    “An act to modernize the air traffic control system, improve the safety, reliability, and availability of transportation by air in the United States, provide for modernization of the air traffic control system, reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes.”

    Maybe they’re trying to get pigs to fly?

    1. It’s just as accurate as anything else they would have named it.

  18. “The XXX Act of Fucking Over the Taxpayers”

    They just put too many Xs in the title.

  19. Boehner’s commentary is actually funny. His proposed names:

    # Save Our ‘Stimulus’ (SOS) Act
    # ‘Recovery Summer’ Bailout Act (Cash for Flunkers)
    # Delivering Unions a Major Boost (DUMB) Act
    # Helping Election Expenditures, Hurting American Workers (HEEHAW) Act
    # Democracy is Strengthened by Clearly Leveraging and Optimizing Special-Interests’ Effectiveness (DISCLOSE) Act
    # Holding Union Bosses Over Until Card Check Act
    # Rescuing Incumbent Democrats Is Costly (RIDIC) Act
    # Summertime Cash for Union Bosses Instead of Spending Cuts for Taxpayers Act
    # Frivolous Act of Ineffective Largess (FAIL) Act
    # Naming These Things Hasn’t Gotten Us Anywhere, So Why Bother? Act

    1. Except almost all of his proposals miss the only part of the name we have – ____ Act of ____. So, not very smart.

  20. On the first part of committee,
    I was sowing the seeds of strife,
    there were hippies, blue dogs, birchers, right wings,
    there were motions, votes, and kings,
    the first thing I saw was a chair abuzz,
    and a member with no clout,
    the rage was hot but debate was dry,
    I nearly came unwound.

    See I been through committee on a bill with no name
    it felt good to see all the abstains,
    In committee, no need to worry bout blame,
    cause the press don’t seem to think its germane.
    la la, laa, la la la la, la la, laa la…

    After two days, in committee one,
    the pages began to drop dead,
    after three days of committee fun,
    the ranking member brought a trundle bed,
    and the reasons he told of why it had but one mode
    disappointed all from a to zed

    See I been through committee on a bill with no name
    it felt good to see all the abstains,
    In committee, no need to worry bout blame,
    cause the press don’t seem to think its germane.
    la la, laa, la la la la, la la, laa la…

    After nine days, I became absentee
    cause I had to enter a plea,
    there were bribes and graft, from Dubai, Beijing,
    there was cash for all you could wring.
    Corruption is a thing that really does abound,
    with your perfect disguises above
    in committee, you have alibis quite profound,
    but you must remember the gloves!

    See I been through committee on a bill with no name
    it felt good to see all the abstains,
    In committee, no need to worry bout blame,
    cause the press don’t seem to think its germane.
    la la, laa, la la la la, la la, laa la…

    1. This is brilliant. 🙂

  21. ROGULSKI: Why are you here?

    WOMAN #1: To get some money.

    ROGULSKI: What kind of money?

    WOMAN #1: Obama money.

    ROGULSKI: Where’s it coming from?

    WOMAN #1: Obama.

    ROGULSKI: And where did Obama get it?

    WOMAN #1: I don’t know, his stash. I don’t know. (laughter) I don’t know where he got it from, but he givin’ it to us, to help us.

    WOMAN #2: And we love him.

    WOMAN #1: We love him. That’s why we voted for him!

    WOMEN: (chanting) Obama! Obama! Obama! (laughing)


    ROGULSKI: Did you get an application to fill out yet?

    WOMAN: I sure did. And I filled it out, and I am waiting to see what the results are going to be.

    ROGULSKI: Will you know today how much money you’re getting?

    WOMAN: No, I won’t, but I’m waiting for a phone call.

    ROGULSKI: Where’s the money coming from?

    WOMAN: I believe it’s coming from the City of Detroit or the state.

    ROGULSKI: Where did they get it from?

    WOMAN: Some funds that was forgiven (sic) by Obama.

    ROGULSKI: And where did Obama get the funds?

    WOMAN: Obama getting the funds from… Ummm, I have no idea, to tell you the truth. He’s the president.

    ROGULSKI: In downtown Detroit, Ken Rogulski, WJR News.

  22. enen,you can find whatever watch you want on my name

  23. america????FETUYUBDG

  24. we love you IFDFBEBUD

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