Back in 2010, Washington reached a whole new level of dysfunction in passing a major piece of legislation, without bothering to give the bill a name. “H.R. 1586 has adopted the name, the “______Act of____,” apparently because of the haste with which the Senate wanted to pass the bill last week” reported the Cato Institute on the incident.
Now six years later, Congress managed to pass a bill with a name – but no text.
Via The Daily SignalOn Tuesday night, the Senate voted to proceed to the continuing resolution, a bill that will allegedly fund the government until Dec. 9. The only problem is that there isn’t actually a bill yet.
There is no text. There is no agreement between Democrats and Republicans on what the bill will fund—Planned Parenthood, the Export-Import Bank, control of the internet—all of it remains a mystery. Yet the Senate voted 89-7 to proceed to this nonexistent bill.
The Senate operates under complex parliamentary rules that require a series of votes in order to “proceed to” or “get onto” a bill. The vote Tuesday night was the first in what will be a series of votes on the continuing resolution, or spending bill.And Senate leadership tried to pitch this as simply a process vote. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., communications director tweeted that this vote was “just procedural” and “not a vote on the CR [continuing resolution]” or on Zika funding. Various reporters tweeted that this was just a vote on a “shell bill,” and that the text of the continuing resolution would be crafted at a later date.
But the fact still remains: On Tuesday, the Senate voted to proceed to a bill that does not yet exist. Forget not being able to read it, or not having time to digest the policy at hand. The bill does not exist.Remember when Nancy Pelosi said we needed to “pass the bill to find out what’s in it” about Obamacare back in 2010? If only the answer was “nothing” more often!
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]