Redefining The Social Contract With Our Lawmakers
Becky E. Hites
March 16, 2020
When did it become acceptable to constituents for their lawmakers to abandon all of their assurances (promises) during their campaigns once they arrive in Washington, DC?
Or even worse than that, when did it become ok for our candidates to take the job in Washington as our Representatives, move to DC and literally get nothing passed into law, for decades?
To grandstand for the cameras and write proposed legislation that has zero support or chance to become law? Who remembers the song “I’m Just A Bill” from Saturday morning cartoons? It seems that some of our federal legislators could use a refresher on how the process works.
“I’m just a bill. Yes, I’m only a bill. And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill. Well, it’s a long, long journey To the capital city. It’s a long, long wait While I’m sitting in committee, But I know I’ll be a law someday At least I hope and pray that I will, But today I am still just a bill. Boy: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.
Bill: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn’t even a bill, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local Congressman and he said, “You’re right, there oughta be a law.” Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I’ll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.
I’m just a bill. Yes I’m only a bill, And I got as far as Capitol Hill. Well, now I’m stuck in committee And I’ll sit here and wait While a few key Congressmen discuss and debate Whether they should let me be a law. How I hope and pray that they will, But today I am still just a bill. Boy: Listen to those congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?
Bill: Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones. Most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide to report on me favourably, otherwise I may die. Boy: Die?
Bill: Yeah, die in committee. Oooh, but it looks like I’m gonna live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me. Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?
Bill: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again. Boy: Oh no!
Bill: Oh yes! I’m just a bill Yes, I’m only a bill And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill Well, then I’m off to the White House Where I’ll wait in a line With a lot of other bills For the president to sign And if he signs me, then I’ll be a law. How I hope and pray that he will, But today I am still just a bill. Boy: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a law, the president can still say no?
Bill: Yes, that’s called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you’re so old… Boy: By that time it’s very unlikely that you’ll become a law. It’s not easy to become a law, is it?
Bill: No! But how I hope and I pray that I will, But today I am still just a bill. Congressman: He signed you, Bill! Now you’re a law!
Bill: Oh yes!!!”
Unless you can build a consensus within your party and the House supporting your bill, and unless your party can build bi-partisan support in the Senate, and unless you have the support of the president, or a big enough majority of votes in the Congress to override a veto, just writing up an idea into a House Resolution is a waste of time and a completely fruitless exercise.
Just like the recent illegal impeachment process.
It may have satisfied the egos of the lawmakers in the House of Representatives who dislike the voters’ decision and election of the current president, but in the end, it was a political stunt that did nothing to improve the lives of the Nation’s citizens.
One of the unique things about President Trump is that he has fulfilled more campaign promises than any president in recent memory. He’s remained true to his word and worked against all odds to implement the policies that he said he would.