We are a people with a government, not the other way around - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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We are a people with a government, not the other way around

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Posted: Monday, February 14, 2011 3:30 pm

Focusing on one thing at a time to get something done is not really a ground breaking concept for most of us. But for Congress, that can always be a different story.

Recently, I introduced the "Single Subject" bill to address this same concept in the House of Representatives.

This bill would change the rules in Congress to prohibit consideration of legislation addressing more than one subject or issue.

Though Arizonans and many western states have adopted a bill like this in our own state legislatures, the U.S. House has yet to do the same.

Not only is this "Single Subject" bill a personal conviction to clean up Washington, but it is a continuation of a promise House Republicans made in the Pledge to America last fall.

Under this pledge, Republicans promised to "end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with "must-pass" legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time."

The spend-as-you-go Congress of the past several years has operated largely behind closed doors. The result? Bills are enacted into law that few people have read, and even fewer understand. This results in costly and wasteful projects that foot taxpayers with the bill.

Over and over we have seen examples of what happens in a Congress without a "Single Subject" bill: A bill intended to fund our troops allocates funds for teapot museums. Another bill intended to generate economic stimulus actually dumps $30 million in pork for mouse protection. And who could forget the cowgirl hall of fame or the indoor rainforest.

For far too long we've seen Congress abuse the legislative process by using omnibus legislation as a means to buy votes on the House floor. It is imperative we address the logrolling, wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars, and clean up the legislative process. Passing this "Single Subject" bill is a good first step.

Every bill voted on in the House of Representatives should be considered on its own merit in an open and transparent way before the American people. After all, we are a people with a government, not the other way around. And that should not be a ground-breaking concept.

David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) is a member of Congress in Arizona's District 5, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him locally at (480) 946-2411 or in Washington D.C. at (202) 225-2190.

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