Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported on another little Easter egg in a bill cruising through Congress that would normally have followed Nancy Pelosi’s policy of discovery ex post facto. Democrats have pushed hard to get the financial-regulation reform bill unstuck in the Senate, mainly playing on class-warfare themes in painting the GOP as the party of eeeeeeevil Wall Street robber barons. However, the House version of the bill contains provisions that would put the Federal Trade Commission in position to start issuing rules on Internet transactions that would not only slow down business growth but also have no relevance at all to the financial collapse that prompted the bill.
I’m not trying to argue that these hidden gems are in any way meaningful. I’d note that this is about trade (although that’s not a problem that should need a solution at this time), and in no way threatens communication. But it’s puzzling, none the less.
This is just another example of something that can be avoided if we were to limit federal bills to only the topic at hand, as I wrote about here. If this aspect of the legislation is necessary, and I think that’s a big if, let it stand on its own.