Chris Lee says it's time to stop wasteful printing of proposed legislation
BATAVIA, NY -- Congress is behind the times, according to Rep. Chris Lee (NY-26). While society is moving to an increasingly paperless existence, the congressional printing office still delivers five printed copies of every bill to the staff of each bill's co-sponsors.
Those can be pretty hefty tomes -- hundreds of pages long -- to dozens of congressional offices.
And they are bills that usually just get tossed in the garbage or recycling bin, because most legislators and their staff members read and track bills on computers.
At the Genesee ARC recycling center today, Lee announced legislation he hopes will pass to end the practice of printing these copies of bills. He called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has talked before about the "greening of DC" to support the bill, which already has nine Democratic co-sponsors.
"We don't practice what we preach," Lee said.
If passed, Lee said he estimates that the bill would save taxpayers $2.5 million per year.
"This is a win-win," Lee said. "It takes care of our environment and it shows that we’re looking after every penny that comes into our treasury."
As an example, Lee held up all five copies of a recent bill that was 153 pages long and was delivered to the offices of 80 co-sponsors.
The freshman congressman is concerned that the bill won't be taken seriously in the House, because in an environment were most legislation is dealing with billions or trillions of dollars, $2.5 million is practically "spare change."
"To me, $2.5 million is a lot of money," Lee said. "Unfortunately, there’s this premise that unless it has a “B” or a “T” after it, in Washington, most of the people don’t care."