What's Up With Our Ridiculous Bill Titles?

Just try to say any of these five times fast
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2011 8:36 AM CDT
The US Capitol building is seen at dusk, January 25, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Remember when bills had simple names like the Civil Rights Act or the Highway Beautification Act? Not any more. Lawmakers are increasingly using these titles as a political tool, saddling bills with cumbersome and partisan names like the Reducing Barack Obama's Unsustainable Deficit Act or the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act. The ridiculous titles are just another way to “stick it to the other party,” a congressional historian tells the Los Angeles Times.

In some cases, both sides of an issue get their own silly name: Republicans had the Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act; Democrats had the Big Oil Welfare Repeal Act. But since bills typically have a better chance of passing if they can get bipartisan support, aren’t the partisan titles a bad idea? "It would not be good legislative strategy," one former legislation drafter concurs, "but might be good politics.” Even so, says one congressman, considering all the laments over Congress’s lack of bipartisanship, the practice is “just not helpful.” (Read more bipartisan stories.)

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