≡ Menu

Legislators’ Ignorance of the Legislation is No Excuse

Can anyone offer even one potentially sound reason why this proposal, appearing in the following letter from today’s Wall Street Journal, ought not be adopted?

Daniel Henninger’s “A Plague of Vagueness” (Wonder Land, July 1) is wonderful. It is highly likely that no member of Congress has yet completely read any of the recent 2000-page bills that are fundamentally reshaping our economy and the role of government in our society. It is near certain that not a single legislator read these bills before voting on them.

Since 2004, candidates for public office are required by law to state that they have personally seen and approved any campaign ad. I think it would be reasonable—and truly should garner full bipartisan support—to demand a law which simply requires our legislators to read the laws that they pass.

Suppose a “yes” vote also requires a signed statement, before the vote, that says, “I have personally read this law, in its entirety, and approve its content.” Could any simpler idea have more profound impact in reversing congressional dysfunction and rescuing Congress from its dreadful approval ratings?

It would be interesting to watch Congress debate its way out of this simple procedural bill.

Robert D. Arnott