For those that are not aware, Congress passes a lot of bills! In the 112th Congress, there were 561 bills that passed in one year. If we do some basic math, Congress is in session for 132 days and in that time they pass 561 bills, meaning they are passing roughly 4 bills a day. An example of one of these bills is the 600-page Highway Flood Student Loan bill that was given to the Senate the day of the vote. On top of that the bill had 23 additional amendments.
Congressman Massie explained that voice votes are frequently used to pass motions, amendments, and resolutions. There are several problems with taking voice votes on important issues. First, the voice vote does not hold politicians accountable for their votes. Many of our congressmen that we send to Washington are voting against what they ran on, but we do not have a record of all of these votes. The second problem with this method of voting is that it is solely at the discretion of the House Chair. Under normal circumstances, this would be Speaker of the House John Boehner. He is the only one that is allowed to interpret the vote.
The House is supposed to have something called a “quorum” to have a vote. A quorum is defined by at least 218 congressmen. The way that Boehner decides if there is a quorum is by squinting his eyes and declaring he thinks he sees 218 people. Congressman Massie said sometimes there will only be ten congressmen present.
FK – When are we gonna go up there? That’s what it’s gonna take, and nothing less.