The Read the Bills Act (RTBA) is proposed legislation intended to require the United States Congress to read the legislation that it passes. It was originally written in 2006 by Downsize DC, a non-profit organization focused on decreasing the size of the federal government. The proposed act is a response to the passing of bills that are thousands of pages long and are passed without copies being made available to the members of Congress who vote on the bill. The bill is aimed at limiting the size and growth of the federal government.
Similarly, a separate bill nicknamed the "Read the Bill Act" would require bills to be posted publicly 72 hours prior to consideration in Congress. Unlike the Downsize DC proposal, this bill is supported by ReadTheBill.org (part of the Sunlight Foundation) with the primary aim to increase transparency in government. It was introduced in the U.S. House (by Rep. Brian Baird in 2006 H.Res. 688, 2007 H.Res. 504, and 2009 H.Res. 554) and Senate (by Sen. Jim Bunning in 2009 S.Res. 307, and by Sen. John Ensign in 2011 S.Res. 16). The Senate version differs in a few ways, including a requirement to have the Congressional Budget Office provide an evaluation of the proposed legislation.
- "RTBA Full Text". Downsize DC. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
- "The Grand New—and Old—Party". Wall Street Journal. November 6, 2010.
- "Read The Bill: About Read The Bill". ReadTheBill.org. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
- "Read the Bill Act Stalled in Congress". OMB Watch. October 14, 2009. Retrieved February 10, 2011.