Like Causes?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H.R. 395

Should Each Bill in Congress Only Address One Subject?

Argument in favor

For the sake of transparency, members of Congress need to stop writing and passing bills that address multiple unrelated policy issues. Multi-subject bills may deceptively include policies that lawmakers and the public overlook because of misleading titles.

Michelle's Opinion
···
04/12/2017
Yes. As others have mentioned, lawmakers have become adept at sliding in completely unrelated policies into necessary bills. Like the budget for example, lawmakers like to try and add in policies that are meaningless to our budget and that are controversial. They do that to put their fellow lawmakers in a bind: they can either support the budget bill and let that controversial item pass or hold up the budget. That's crap legislature. This practice needs to stop.
Like (332)
Follow
Share
Mindy's Opinion
···
04/12/2017
The American people are tired of congress "hiding" items in other bills just to get them passed
Like (237)
Follow
Share
Nichole's Opinion
···
04/12/2017
Too often good bills are declined because of riders added to them or even worse passed with awful hidden agendas. Let's focus on each issue individually instead of tacking them on with other things.
Like (189)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

It’s not practical to expect Congress to only introduce bills that deal with one subject area, they only have a finite amount of time in session and need to address a wide variety of policies. Combining unrelated, unobjectionable bills saves time.

Carl's Opinion
···
04/12/2017
Some bills regarding complex issues may have to address more than one thing. What should be eliminated is the ability to attach riders. This is a scam used to pass unpopular measures on the backs of popular ones or to kill popular bills by burdening them with distasteful extras.
Like (115)
Follow
Share
Dave's Opinion
···
04/12/2017
If it sound too good too be true, it usually is! There it a lot of gray in this! This is like the line item veto for the president. With any party in power this could be a problem! Like having 51% of the vote! You could run anything through with out bipartisan support. ! The devil is always in the deals. We seem to be changing a lot of procedures to who advantage$$$$? No I would leave it the way it is
Like (25)
Follow
Share
Brent's Opinion
···
04/12/2017
If you thought nothing got done before, just wait until this is approved. The snail pace of Congress will turn into a near stand still.
Like (16)
Follow
Share

What is House Bill H.R. 395?

This bill would require each bill or joint resolution introduced in Congress to embrace only one subject, and that subject must be descriptively expressed in the legislation’s title. Aggrieved persons and members of Congress would have the right to sue the U.S. to seek relief, including an injunction, against the enforcement of a law passed in a manner that didn’t conform with the one subject requirement.

Appropriations bills would be prohibited from containing any general legislation or including any change of existing law requirements if the subject of a provision isn’t germane to the appropriation bill’s subject.

Legislation that meets the following criteria would be declared void:

  • An entire Act or joint resolution if its title addresses two or more unrelated subjects;

  • Provisions in legislation not clearly and descriptively expressed in the measure’s title;

  • Appropriation provisions in legislation outside the relevant subcommittee’s jurisdiction;

  • Provisions of appropriation bills not germane to their subject matter.

Impact

The American public; Congressional staffers; and members of Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 395

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) introduced this bill to increase transparency in the lawmaking process by requiring that Congress only address one subject in a given piece of legislation:

“For too long, the legislative branch has failed to address legislative priorities in a transparent manner. Congress has habitually passed large, must-pass bills at the last minute. Loosely related and controversial provisions are frequently attached to these bills under pressure from outside organizations, who know that their best chance to address pet projects is a must-pass bill. 
Such provisions ride the host legislation like a parasite, forcing members of Congress to either accept a pyrrhic victory by taking the good with the bad, or reject it outright at the expense of the good. The American people deserve better from their elected officials.
My bill would require Congress to consider only one subject per bill or resolution. Every legislative provision would be forced to stand on its own two legs, rather than hitching a ride on a stronger host, and make its case to the American people.”

This legislation has the support of 24 cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Republicans.

Of Note: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 states have provisions within their state constitutions that require bills in their legislature to only deal with a single subject. There are also 15 states that require initiatives to only cover a single subject to receive a spot on the ballot.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Circa Sassy / Creative Commons)

AKA

One Subject at a Time Act

Official Title

To end the practice of including more than one subject in a single bill by requiring that each bill enacted by Congress be limited to only one subject, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 10th, 2017
    Yes. As others have mentioned, lawmakers have become adept at sliding in completely unrelated policies into necessary bills. Like the budget for example, lawmakers like to try and add in policies that are meaningless to our budget and that are controversial. They do that to put their fellow lawmakers in a bind: they can either support the budget bill and let that controversial item pass or hold up the budget. That's crap legislature. This practice needs to stop.
    Like (332)
    Follow
    Share
    Some bills regarding complex issues may have to address more than one thing. What should be eliminated is the ability to attach riders. This is a scam used to pass unpopular measures on the backs of popular ones or to kill popular bills by burdening them with distasteful extras.
    Like (115)
    Follow
    Share
    The American people are tired of congress "hiding" items in other bills just to get them passed
    Like (237)
    Follow
    Share
    Too often good bills are declined because of riders added to them or even worse passed with awful hidden agendas. Let's focus on each issue individually instead of tacking them on with other things.
    Like (189)
    Follow
    Share
    The American people deserve transparency in government. Each bill should only be concerned with a single issue.
    Like (116)
    Follow
    Share
    Tired of the card tricks. One related topic only.
    Like (75)
    Follow
    Share
    Combining bills only serves to obfuscate and subvert.
    Like (71)
    Follow
    Share
    It's duplicitous and deceptive the way lawmakers sneak in amendments and additions to bills in order to ram through their own ideological agendas.
    Like (58)
    Follow
    Share
    Why is it even necessary to ask this? I don't buy that there "isn't enough time" for them to look at and vote on individual bills. The reason that bills get so bogged down is because there are so many other things tacked onto them. Legislation would have to be passed on its own merit and not be dependent upon miscellaneous, non-related issues. Now, there's a concept!
    Like (49)
    Follow
    Share
    Slipping unrelated policy legislation into bills does not seem like a fair or mature way to govern.
    Like (43)
    Follow
    Share
    No more poor policies piggybacking on serious business. No more secondary excuses for why or why not our Representatives Voted the way they did. Much easier to follow the money.
    Like (35)
    Follow
    Share
    We have such a rule in Colorado and it really makes a big difference in accountability and the elimination of ridiculous amendments.
    Like (27)
    Follow
    Share
    Indubitably! It would enhance transparency! I don't like pork projects being tacked on as "amendments." Another thing I don't like in bills is the use of the phrase "and for other purposes"! Those "other purposes" can hide a multitude of "sins." I shouldn't have to guess what those other purposes are. I VOTE YEA! And thank you, Mia Love, for submitting this bill!
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    If it sound too good too be true, it usually is! There it a lot of gray in this! This is like the line item veto for the president. With any party in power this could be a problem! Like having 51% of the vote! You could run anything through with out bipartisan support. ! The devil is always in the deals. We seem to be changing a lot of procedures to who advantage$$$$? No I would leave it the way it is
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    Great idea. Eliminate the fine print. Keeps Congress honest!
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    While this would slow down sweeping reforms it would also slow down reckless authoritarian agendas like we are currently seeing.
    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
    If you thought nothing got done before, just wait until this is approved. The snail pace of Congress will turn into a near stand still.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    End the pork. Debate one issue at a time. It would take Congress more time to see to everything on their plate? Well maybe less should be on their plate anyway. Maybe they should only handle what can be covered in one-issue-per-bill legislation. And even that will probably still be too much.
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    Time for some accountability. Do your job
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Members of both the Democratic 'and' Republican parties have made a habit of passing complex, thousand page bills without hearings, amendments or debate. This process and the collusion that goes with it are why we are $19 trillion in debt and why the American people have lost trust in elected officials.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE