New to the art form? This Wall Street Journal article will get you orientated. Also, for more information on how some of these titles mislead lawmakers and the citizenry, find some academic commentary from Brian Christopher Jones here:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fueling an America that Works by...Literally, Fueling America

The House has begun debate on Rep. Doc Hastings's (R., WA) Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014. The official long title of the measure notes that it will "lower gasoline prices for the American family by increasing domestic onshore and offshore energy exploration and production, to streamline and improve onshore and offshore energy permitting and administration, and for other purposes."

There are also a number of short titles underneath this measure that are included as portions of this bill. Among them are: 

  • BLM Live Internet Auctions Act
  • Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act
  • National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act
  • Planning for American Energy Act of 2014
  • Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security Act
  • Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2014
  • Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2014

Domestic Prosperity & Global Freedom - ✓

It seems Rep. Cory Gardner (R., CO) has checked all the right boxes in the title of his measure, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, which is primarily in regard to exporting America's abundance of natural gas. The House has even begun debate on the measure and it will likely be passed tomorrow. Rep Gardner surely has high hopes for the legislation in regard to domestic prosperity. He notes "[t]his bipartisan, commonsense legislation will increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to allies around the world as well as create 45,000 jobs in the United States over the next four years." 

As for the "global freedom" portion of his title...well, that may be a bit trickier.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Safer Communities Through Closing Catch-and-Release?

Today Senators Chuck Grassley (R., IA), Jim Inhofe (R., OK), Jeff Sessions (R., AL), David Vitter (R., LA) and Ted Cruz (R., TX) introduced the Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2014 (not to be confused with Rep. Lamar Smith's Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2013). Their press release notes that the measure would "close the legal loophole created by the U.S. Supreme Court in Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) that requires immigration authorities to release back into the United States any immigrant that has not been accepted for deportation to other countries after being detained for six months; a practice commonly referred to as “catch and release.”

Safer communities is a common bill title theme in most congressional sessions, and this one is not different. Other bills with similar names are: S.649 - Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, and the Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act of 2013.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Today the Obama Administration released their statement of opposition to Rep. Tom Latham's (R., IA) Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015. In particular, the White House notes that,
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 4745, making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes. The bill fails to make needed investments in our Nation's infrastructure, provides insufficient support for critical housing programs for low-income Americans and the homeless, and includes objectionable language provisions.
Discussion of the bill is complete with  talk of TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grants, HAWK (Homeowners Armed With Knowledge) Demonstration Projects, and of course promotion of the Administration's latest GROW AMERICA proposal. 

Rep. Latham's bill has been reported out of committee and will soon be considered by the full House. 


Last month the Department of Transportation released the GROW AMERICA (Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America) Act, which along with the USA PATRIOT Act and the USA FREEDOM Act, is another needless and painstakingly long short bill title. 

To ascertain my take on such acronyms, see my recent article in the Stanford Law & Policy Review Online. 

Generally, the Department of Transportation notes that the bill aims to: 
  • Address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and provide $87 billion to address the nation’s backlog of deficient bridges and aging transit systems;
  • Create millions of new jobs to ensure America’s future competitiveness;
  • Increase safety across all modes of surface transportation, including increasing the civil penalties the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can levy against automakers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls;
  • Provide certainty to state and local governments that must engage in long-term planning;
  • Reduce project approval and permitting timelines while delivering better outcomes for communities and the environment;
  • Bolster efficient and reliable freight networks to support trade and economic growth; and
  • Create incentives to better align planning and investment decisions to comprehensively address regional economic needs while strengthening local decision-making.
More information can be found in these Dept. of Transportation GROW AMERICA fact sheets.