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  •  Not what I meant. (3+ / 0-)
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    Xapulin, indres, Edge PA

    I meant that understanding how they do these things empowers you to cut through the B.S. they usually hand "interested constituents" who ask about why they are or aren't doing something in particular.

    But as to this particular bill, they're changing both the content and the title. And yes, that makes it not a new bill. That's what the amendment process means. You can have small amendments, or you can have big ones. This is a big one.

    Unless you want to try to limit the size of amendments by some arbitrary metric, that's the inevitable result of allowing amendments at all. And if you did try to impose some arbitrary size limit on amendments, you'd just force people to do the same thing through the use of two amendments that are each just below the arbitrary size limit instead of one.

    The system we're talking about here is the one that permits the Congress to address and vote on changes to pending legislation. Not really sure how you'd do away with that, even if you wanted to for some reason. And looked at that way, I assume you wouldn't.

    •  Amending versus substituting new content (0+ / 0-)

      First, no criticism of your reasoning is intended.  I'm criticizing the fact that this kind of stunt could work as described.

      ...as to this particular bill, they're changing both the content and the title. And yes, that makes it not a new bill. That's what the amendment process means. You can have small amendments, or you can have big ones. This is a big one.

      Actually, changing the title AND content and making it NOT a new bill is even more bizarre than my original understanding (that the tax portion was being treated as a sneaky amendment).

      I get the concept of amendments.  But this kind of thing tells me the system is broken--not because of bad rules, but because the rules are nothing more than arcane technicalities.

      Journo: "Congressman Waldman, did you vote for this Bill?"

      Congressman: "pffft...I voted for SOMEthing...my lawyers thought is was something else, though..."

      •  Well, you always get a vote. (0+ / 0-)

        They can't change the content of the bill like this without you getting an opportunity to vote on it.

        It's no different than having to answer the question, "Did you vote for this bill?" when the bill has been amended under the normal process.

        Did I vote for it? Yes, I voted for it in committee, and I supported the original version of the bill, but after a section of it was amended, I no longer supported it, and voted against it on final passage. Then, that provision was removed in conference, and so I voted for the conference report.

        That's how you sometimes get answers like, "I voted for it before I voted against it," though I don't recall what Senator Kerry was describing when he said that.

        One of the things about being a Congressman is that sometimes it's hard to describe what you did.

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