Cosponsoring Legislation—Changes in Policyby Representative Adam Smith
Posted on 2015-01-14
SMITH of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I will only take a few minutes
and then yield the bulk of the time to Mr. Clyburn.
I rise about a particular situation that has happened to me and, I am sure, has happened to other Members that you might not be aware of. Other Members can sign you on to a piece of legislation without your consent, and that happened to me just this week.
Representative Diane Black signed me on to H.R. 217, which is a particularly strong anti-choice bill and a bill that I would never support. Now, it was an honest mistake.
My name is Adam Smith. Regrettably, there is an Adrian Smith, who serves--well, not ``regrettably.'' Adrian is a very nice man, but he is someone who has a name very close to mine, ``Adrian Smith.'' She thought it was Adrian Smith she was signing on to the bill. She signed me on to the bill instead, and that creates two problems and two things that I would urge this body to change.
First of all, nobody should be able to sign you on to a bill without your signature. Now, I know we do that, and that speeds up the process, but it creates a situation where anyone can put you on any bill. In this case, I was put on a bill that is polar opposite to my personal beliefs and my 18-year record in Congress.
The second thing that is really problematic about this is you would assume--well, okay--there is a simple fix: just take it off. To her credit, as soon as she noticed the mistake, Congresswoman Black did just that--she had my name removed as a cosponsor--but that is not what happens.
On the bill that is out there with the original cosponsors, my name does not simply disappear. A line is drawn through it, and it is said next to it ``withdrawn'' as if, at some point, I did cosponsor the bill and then changed my mind.
I don't know how we change this rule, but when this happens--when it is clear that someone signs you on to a bill you had no intention of being on--your name should be removed. Period. End of story. It was never really there in the first place.
Now, as a part of my permanent record, there is my name as having been on a bill--to all appearances as my own choice--that, in a million years, I never would have cosponsored.
I rise to make that point clear to my constituents, first of all. I never signed on to it, and I never had any intention. Second of all, as I will do in a letter that I will send to the Speaker and to the minority leader, I would urge us to at least change that second policy.
Once it is clear that you never intended to sign on to a bill, your name should simply be removed. It should not be there with a line through it as if you did intend to sign on to the bill at one time. I think this is potentially damaging to a lot of Members.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.