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Maryland State Grange cautions delegation
  JANUARY 2010 --

In a letter to the Maryland Congressional delegation, MD State Grange Legislative Director, Allen Stiles, asked each of Maryland's Members of Congress to be sure to read important pieces of legislation before casting their final vote.

"There is growing concern in this country about massive bills that are passed quickly with little debate and even less time for individual members of the Congress and Senate to read and understand the provisions contained in them.

This is not a new problem. The ‘Stimulus Package' was voted on with members having only 13 hours to see its 1,100 pages. The Troubled Asset Relief Programs (TARP I & II) were passed in a similar manner. When members of Congress complained loudly about the recent AIG bonuses it was discovered that some of those members had added a provision to the bill, making that practice acceptable.

The problem has been bi-partisan in nature; both parties are guilty of committing these problems. In the last election, the American people voted for a fundamental CHANGE in the way that Washington conducts business. We were looking for a new, more open and transparent way of doing your business. Several groups: liberal, conservative, and libertarian are proposing that members of Congress sign a pledge to actually read any bills before they vote for them. The concerns and the solution are both non-partisan in nature.

One of the first things that a prospective doctor is taught is, "First do no harm." The rule in Washington seems to be: it doesn't matter if it works or not. We must do something even if it is the wrong thing.

Sifting through difficult legislation to understand it is the main job that your constituents have elected you to do. We respectfully ask that you refuse to vote for a bill until you have the opportunity to read and understand it."


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