With the passage of the REINS Act earlier today, the House of Representatives got to do two of its favorite things. First, it got to cast a party-line vote on a measure that would curtail the administration's ability to make new rules. Second, it got to talk about a piece of legislation — the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act — that is referred to by a dumb acronym.
Pointing out that second tendency is not new. The Economist looked at the issue back in 2011, but the high-water mark certainly came with the high-profile, brilliantly wrought USA PATRIOT Act in 2001. That's the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act" — a masterpiece of form. But even in this least popular, highly unproductive 113th Congress that kicked off in January, we've got over 240 examples of similarly clever titling to review.
We've categorized them, below. Please enjoy.
The "We Get It Already" Ones
Some titles can't resist kicking you in the teeth with their obviousness, even if they aren't acronyms. There's the "America is for Americans Act" (guess what that does). The "Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty Embassy Security and Personnel Protection Act of 2013." The "Flat Tax Act." What these ones lack in subtlety, they also lack in creativity.