All I want is… A Christmas Tree Bill?
All I want for Christmas is … There are so many ways to finish that statement. In 1944, a second-grade teacher in New York determined his students wanted their two front teeth. Fifty years later, Mariah Carey made her musical holiday wish by letting us know that all she wanted for Christmas is You. Charlie Brown just wanted a tree to decorate. But… did you know that the Senate has a “Christmas Tree” Bill?
No… this bill is not the price you pay for your holiday tree.
A Christmas Tree bill is one that attracts many amendments that benefit other groups or interests, sometimes completely unrelated.1 Wait. What?
Although starting as a small piece of proposed law, amendments addressing special interests become plentiful. For example, a farm bill was introduced in 1956, to which Senators added over 100 amendments. During the 18 days that the amendments were reviewed, accepted and/or rejected, New Mexico’s Democratic Senator Clinton P. Anderson said: “This bill gets more and more like a Christmas tree; there’s something on it for nearly everyone.”
Basically, this type of bill is one that is actually moving through the review process, typically close to the end of the year. It becomes a convenient place for members of Congress to attach their amendment in the hopes of seeing it pass – i.e. hang their ornament. Of course, only so many ornaments can adorn a tree before they topple it to the ground!
Now you have a fun piece of legal trivia to share during your family holiday video call!
Taking a moment for reflections… 2020 has been a year of uncertainty and ambiguity amidst global pandemic impacts. As the winter holidays are upon us and the year draws to a close, the team at the Law Office of Adriana E. Baudry LLC wishes you and yours good health, much happiness, and new and wonderful things in the coming New Year.