Saturday, December 29, 2012
Who's Crazy Now?
US Congress bans word 'lunatic' in federal legislation
- BBC News headline - December 6, 2012
For those who think that Republicans and Democrats can’t work together to get things done, this latest piece of legislation proves otherwise. Following unanimous approval by the Senate in May, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 398-1, also agreed to strike the term “lunatic” from all federal legislation.
While some have criticized Congress for dealing with such a matter when there are more important issues facing the country, most observers see this as a good sign and a harbinger of more progress to come. Supporting evidence for this view can be seen in other recent legislative initiatives and the roster of upcoming bills for consideration:
* H. R. Bill 111 has already received unanimous support in committee and seems assured rapid and near-unanimous passage in both chambers. Entitled the Ice Cream is Great Act, this bill was introduced by representatives from America’s great dairy states of Wisconsin and New York. Almost all House members are ready to vote aye on this one with the exception of a few lactose-intolerant representatives who, rather than spoil the moment and vote nay, will likely simply abstain.
* While not yet reduced to print, there is a recent legislative proposal which has generated a lot of positive buzz on Capitol Hill. Tentatively titled the Fair Pay for Members of Congress Act, it will reportedly increase the pay scale for sitting representatives and senators by what has been described by some as “a modest 25%.” While there still appears to be some minor disagreement as to whether the 25% rate will also apply to each member’s expense allowance, it’s expected that such wrinkles will be worked out with little rancor or delay.
* The Senate has reportedly been hard at work on a bill which will iron out a few contentious matters that have been plaguing both houses of Congress for years. The draft version is called the Free Cable, Subsidized Lunch and Year-round Free Parking Act and will harmonize various disparate provisions to ensure that all Congresspersons receive the same benefits. When asked to comment on what the law will provide, one Senate aide simply said: “I think the title says it all.”
* H. R. Bill 999 will likely break the record for speedy passage. It has been described as the bill to formalize America’s second favorite motto. Hence the title the Motherhood, Apple Pie and the Flag Act. Apparently there has been some disagreement about the specific order of this sacred American triumvirate, but in the true spirit of Congressional compromise, it looks like federal legislators will agree to a provision allowing any of the six possible arrangements of these three words to qualify as official.
* In a dramatic display of bipartisanship, senators from both parties have introduced Senate Bill S.666, the Don’t Blame Us Act. Although the complicated bill comprises more than 300 pages, it essentially boils down to one proviso, namely that no individual senator or representative will be held personally responsible if America ends up going over the fiscal cliff. Unanimous passage is virtually guaranteed.