The Washington Post

Bill names, unspun

Bill titles, with their often loaded and coded language, have become marketing tools for lawmakers looking to sell their policies to their colleagues and constituents.

From clever acronyms to carefully chosen buzzwords, the names of peices of legislation are rarely afterthoughts.

Members of the Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" who crafted the “Immigration Reform that Works for America’s Future Act”. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Here’s a look at some of the immigration and other bills floating around Congress, translated.

S.1348 (of the 110th Congress), Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007

Translation: Here’s our latest attempt at a really, really big bill that fixes immigration. (Snooze — that was so 2007.)

S.1, Immigration Reform that Works for America’s Future Act (Senate Democrats’ signature bill)

Translation: “Works” — that’s a double entendre — means it creates jobs. And “America’s Future” has a grand sort of scope to it, so you know it’s good.

S. 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

Translation: There’s something in here for everyone! Sealing up the borders? Yup. Creating jobs? Done. Also, it’s not that scary, liberal “reform,” it’s just “modernization” (i.e., the current system is outdated.)

H.R. 2131, Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act

Translation: We can let the smart ones in.

H.R. 2278, Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act

Translation: Who doesn’t like their enforcement nice and beefy?

And a few non-immigration bills with titles that caught our eye:

H.R. 23, Sanctity of Human Life Act

Translation: Vote against this one, and you might as well vote for the Anti-American Pie Act, jerk

H. R. 2643, Stay in Place, Cut the Waste Act of 2013

Translation: Keeping federal workers right where they are instead of gallivanting off to far flung conferences = saving money.

S.1192 and H.R. 2444, Commonsense Contractor Compensation Act of 2013

Translation: What, you don’t like your reforms common sense?

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Making family dinnertime happen
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
Play Videos
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Learn to make this twice-baked cookie
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
Play Videos
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
The art of tortilla-making
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
Cool off with sno-balls, a New Orleans treat