Limiting "Hotlining" in Congress.
Debate Rounds (2)
By Senator Marshall
Whereas "hotlining" allows Congress to pass bills without even being debated on
or receiving a vote on the floor, and
Whereas through the process of hotlining, Congress may pass bills without even
deliberating on them, and
Whereas only 29 of the 399 bills & resolutions passed by the Senate this year
even received a roll call vote, and
Whereas when a Senator's office misses a hotlined call, their consent & approval is assumed, meaning bills may be passed without a true majority, and
Whereas this violates the democratic method established by the Constitution and
the founding fathers,
Therefore, be it resolved that the act of hotlining be limited to strictly procedural
measures, which do not authorize federal spending (with the exception of
emergency procedures), and
Be it further resolved that all bills being labeled ineligible for the act of hotlining
be posted verbatim on the official Senate & House websites for a period of at least
I so move.
and here's a rough version of the proponent speech:
Senators, the process of hotlining that is so popular in the Senate these days is an offense to the people of America and to democracy itself. "Hotlining" was formerly used as a tool for Congress to get through procedural & non-controversial bills, like naming post offices or libraries and such. But now it is used to pass bills authorizing hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers' pockets. Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama describes hotlining like this: "In each Senate office there are three telephones with hotline buttons on them. Most evenings, sometimes after business hours, these phones begin to ring. The calls are from the Republican and Democratic leaders to each of their Members, asking consent to pass this or that bill - not consider the bill or have debate on the bill but to pass it. The calls normally will give a deadline. If the staff do not call back in 30 minutes (or so), the bill passes. Boom. It can be 500 pages…If the staff misses the hotline, or do not know about it or were not around, the Senator is deemed to have consented to the passage of some bill which might be quite an important piece of information."
During the 109th Congress, 399 bills or resolutions were passed by the Senate. Only 29 of those received a roll call vote on the Senate floor. The rest were hotlined or passed by similar procedures, therefore excluded from open debate and the amendment process. That's 370 pieces of legislation that did not get a real vote in Congress, that didn't even go through the correct democratic process. We cannot let this continue. Simply because a Senator's office does not return a call does not mean he or she would consent to a bill being passed. We cannot let our elected officials' consent to important legislation be assumed. It violates our democratic system, and it's unconstitutional. "The least we should expect is that our representatives…read and understand the bills they pass. The least we should expect is that all bills actually come to a floor vote, and aren't ‘passed' via telephone messages." Which is exactly why we need to limit hotlining to strictly procedural & emergency bills.
darren forfeited this round.
Chuckles forfeited this round.
darren forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Chuckles 8 years ago
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