What’s The Point?

During his speech at a National Press Club luncheon, Democratic Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, questioned the point and necessity of lawmakers reading the health care bill before voting upon it.

What’s The Point of Reading The Bill?

That is an almost unbelievable statement, both for its candor and for its gross irresponsibility. I think that there are few in Congress who would make such a statement, irrespective of how many of them are like Rep. Conyers and lack the ability to read and comprehend such a piece of legislation. Most would, at least, pretend to be marginally qualified to do their jobs.

I love these members, they get up and say, “Read the bill.”

What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?

— Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)
National Press Club luncheon

I’m not without a certain small – very small – sympathy for Rep. Conyers; any bill of over 1000 pages is painful to read. Yet it is Rep. Conyers’ job to read these bills and to develop at least a modicum of understanding of them before voting for or against them.

For that matter, how is it that the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee requires a team of attorneys to explain a legal document to him? How and why is Rep. John Conyers a member of the House Judiciary Committee, much less its Chairman, if he cannot comprehend the text and meaning of such a document?

The question should not be, “What’s the point in reading the bill?” The question should be, “What’s the point in Conyers being in his position if he’s functionally illiterate?”

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6 Responses to “What’s The Point?”

  1. zhann Says:

    I love politics. The vast majority of those in office have absolutely no business being there, they are simply there in order to earn. As the wise Douglas Adams once wrote:

    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

    While I know we aren’t talking about the president, this quote can be in reference to any high government elected position.

  2. jonolan Says:

    I never agreed with Adams on that sentiment. I always thought he should have said:

    Anyone who is desirous of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

    Ability is rare enough in any form and shouldn’t, in my opinion, be discouraged. Sadly so many politicians get lazy and lose what ability they had once they’re elected – and the electorate is often too stupid to remove them.

    Case in point – Conyers has been in office for 44 years and has never faced serious competition for his seat.

  3. zhann Says:

    Its sad, but politics doesn’t work the way it is preached to the masses. The majority truly believe that democracy guarantees the best man will win. It is unfortunate that so few understand how elections are truly won.

    Conyers seems like a great example of this. I have never heard of Conyers before reading this article, so I have little to say about him personally. However, his comment is very typical of the executive branch, especially Congressman. I can only imagine how few of the bills being passed are actually read by those voting for them. In the end, it is much simpler … whats in it for me? If a Congressman or Senator is properly motivated, he will vote to have his grandmother fed to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast Of Traal 😉

  4. jonolan Says:

    I think, given the rest of the sentence, that you meant Legislative not Executive, zhann. Though it’s equally true of the Executive as well.

  5. Steve Says:

    In one way I agree with the guy’s statement “What’s the point”… I mean most of these guys and gals can’t track the dialogue in a Beetle Bailey cartoon strip.

  6. jonolan Says:

    OK, Steve; you have a point there. Most of Congress, and certainly Rep. Conyers, seem incapable of doing this part of their jobs.

    But it follows then, if they had any intention at all of fulfilling their duties to their constituents, that they’d demand those two days to read it and would hire those two attorneys that Conyers spoke of to explain it to them.

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