In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-ID) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to create a rule requiring that each bill in Congress cover a single topic, thereby ensuring individual votes on each subject and ending the practice of large omnibus bills:
“In Idaho, legislative bills are limited to a single subject and are voted on separately. This practice has held every legislator accountable to their constituents because each bill has a separate and transparent vote. As the House of Representatives looks at proposals to modernize Congress, I believe the One Subject at a Time Act needs to be part of the conversation. This proposal will end ‘back room deals,’ large ‘must-pass’ bills, and restore trust in our representative government.”
Last Congress, sponsoring Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) introduced this bill to increase transparency in the lawmaking process by requiring that Congress only address one subject in a given piece of legislation:
“For too long, the legislative branch has failed to address legislative priorities in a transparent manner. Congress has habitually passed large, must-pass bills at the last minute. Loosely related and controversial provisions are frequently attached to these bills under pressure from outside organizations, who know that their best chance to address pet projects is a must-pass bill. Such provisions ride the host legislation like a parasite, forcing members of Congress to either accept a pyrrhic victory by taking the good with the bad, or reject it outright at the expense of the good. The American people deserve better from their elected officials.My bill would require Congress to consider only one subject per bill or resolution. Every legislative provision would be forced to stand on its own two legs, rather than hitching a ride on a stronger host, and make its case to the American people.”
Of Note: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 states have provisions within their state constitutions that require bills in their legislature to only deal with a single subject. There are also 15 states that require initiatives to only cover a single subject to receive a spot on the ballot.
Omnibus bills — which this bill would eliminate — are large funding packages that concern hundreds of government agencies, topics, and interests. Rep. Fulcher's office says these bills are disingenuous
, and have contributed to the ballooning national debt:
"Typically, these packages (in 2018, over 2,000 pages) include massive government waste and overspending along with priorities that have broad support by Members of Congress such as, veterans care, funding for homeland security, pay for our military troops, and district programs like PILT. This creates a disingenuous situation for Members and has no doubt been a facet of our exploding $22 trillion national debt."