Friday, November 15, 2013

The 1,300 Page Bill that Nobody Has Read (i.e. Immigrant Reform or s744)

I've been reading, and listening to "The 1,300 Page Bill that Nobody Has Read".  As you may have heard, this is how House Speaker John Boehner referred to the Immigrant reform bill.  I'd like to briefly point out a few things, and provide a link to a downloadable audio version of the bill you could listen to in your car in about 16 hours.  Time doesn't permit me to do nearly as polished a job as I'd like, and I'm very late in the news cycle as it is, but over the weekend I hope to make substantial improvements

As few people are aware, whenever a bill is described as X hundred pages, it is really somewhere between a 4th and half that long if the pages were such as you normally read in books.  Here is a typical "page" in a congressional bill.  Note there are 24 lines - half what's typical in most books, and not many words per line at that:
This accurately illustrates the total number of words on a page. The pages have wide margins and double-spacing to facilitate writing marginal comments.   Only the first few pages (the table of contents) are an exception.
  Here is link to a more naturally formatted version of S 744.
  If you print it you will get about 530 pages -- still with a lot of space since it consists mostly of very short sections.
We hear a lot about bills not being read, but please bear in mind that the length of the bills is far less that what you might think from the X hundred pages.  Still, I don't think congressmen would speak so much about unread bills if everyone did their job and read them.  Do our representatives really have so little time?

I think the answer is yes, because they have to spend more time raising money than they spend doing their jobs as congressmen!  This is especially true of Mr. Boehner's house, as they must stand for reelection every two years!!

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