Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Lawmaker wants every bill to have ‘Constitutional authority’

One of the themes of Republicans running in the midterm elections was limiting government to just the powers enumerated in the Constitution.

One bill from Rep. Phil Gingrey seeks to require that all legislation sponsored in the U.S. House include a statement of “Constitutional authority.” Under H.R. 125 politicians would be required to state how their proposed law fits into the Constitution.

In theory, it’s actually not a bad idea. However, in practice, it’s a waste of time.

Case in point: Rep. Gingrey sensibly added a statement of Constitutional authority to this legislation. But he cites the broadest, most innocuous provision: article I, section 8, clause 18 (To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.)

But even more ridiculous is Rep. Gingrey’s own hypocrisy. He’s no strict Constitutionalist and has frequently tried to pass bills that have nothing to do with enumerated powers and sometimes even conflict with the Constitution.

Rating: 2 teabags

Click here to learn about the rating system. For archives of the Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation, click here.

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Should we give 1 percent GDP to other countries?

Throughout the years, there have been numerous studies that show Americans are a charitable people, both at home and abroad. I would even say that philanthropy is a quality that defines our nation.

But Rep. Barbara Lee’s H. Con Res. 11 takes our coutnry’s philanthropic spirit and puts it on a track to become law. Somehow that doesn’t seem right.

H. Con. Res. 11 would declare that the “United States should provide, on an annual basis, an amount equal to at least 1 percent of United States gross domestic product (GDP) for nonmilitary foreign assistance programs.”

Rep. Lee makes some good points for the bill:

Whereas poverty, lack of opportunity, and environmental degradation are recognized as significant contributors to socioeconomic and political instability, as well as to the exacerbation of disease pandemics and other global health threats;

Whereas elevating the United States standing in the world represents a critical and essential element of any strategy to improve national and global security by mitigating the root causes of conflict and multinational terrorism, strengthening diplomatic and economic relationships, preventing global climate change, curbing weapons proliferation, and fostering peace and cooperation between all nations;

Right now, the bill is more of a statement and would not require Congress to appropriate such money. But it sets a precedent, so I’ve added it to the list.

Rating: 1 teabag

Click here to learn about the rating system. For archives of the Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation, click here.

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: U.S. Rep Serrano files ‘President for life’ bill

United States Representative Jose Serrano sure has some bad timing.

Earlier this month, as citizens in other countries protested their corrupt, leaders-for-life , Serrano introduced a bill to repeal the 22nd amendment to the United States Constitution — the one that limits the office terms of presidents.

Even if there was ever a time citizens of the United States would consider eliminating term limits for the President of the United States, this era of fierce bipartisanship would not be that time.

To even file such an undemocratic bill shows that Mr. Serrano, a Democrat from New York’s 16th district (think: Bronx Zoo), is truly out of touch with America. Of course, a man with a mustache like that is definitely a risk-taker.

But before you start accusing Mr. Serrano of wanting Barack Obama — that non-citizen Muslim from Kenya — to become “President for Life,” consider this: Serrano has filed this bill seven times in the last 14 years — including four times during the G.W. Bush years.

Now, that’s ridiculous.

Rating: 4 tea bags

Click here to learn about the rating system. For archives of the Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation, click here.

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation is back for 2011!

It’s been two years since the last Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation, but I’m happy to announce the Guide is back to track the most absurd bills in the 2011 legislative cycle.

It’s the perfect year, too.

Both locally and nationally, U.S. citizens are seeing some of the most reactionary law-making in years. The political atmosphere is decidedly partisan … and sometimes just plain mean. There are hundreds of new politicians looking to make a name for themselves with opportunistic legislation. And with record numbers of laid-off reporters and bankrupt media companies, it’s an impossible task to track the hundreds (thousands?) of bills coming up for a vote.

That’s where the Guide comes in.

But this year, I’m doing something different: I will focus mostly on federal legislation as oppose to only focusing on Florida’s fair share of foolish ideas.

If you remember from the past two installments of the Guide, I’ve used some kind of graphic to rate the idiocy of featured bills from 1 to 5. In 2008, I used “Bumper Nutz,” those wildly-colored genitals that rednecks like to put on the back of their trucks. In 2009, in honor of Florida Rep. Darryl Rouson’s “bong tax,” I rated ridiculous legislation with 1-5 bong hits, with “5 bong hits” being the most stoned bills coming out of the Florida Legislature.

This year, with the Tea Party movement changing the face of politics in Florida and nationally, I thought the rating system should reflect this new (bizarre) phenomenon of U.S. politics.

So I’m using teabags. I will rate bills by 1 to 5 teabags, with five teabags representing the worst concoction of a law – reactionary, wasteful, and of course, ridiculous.

For a complete list of all previous posts, click here.

(Photos of teabags courtesy of Andrew Coulter Enright / Flickr under Creative Commons licensing)