GOP bill would require all bills to be written clearly

The bill would add a new paragraph to U.S. code that says, "No Act shall be revised or amended by mere reference to it. Every bill or joint resolution which amends an existing section, subsection, or other subdivision of any Act shall set forth the section, subsection, or other subdivision sufficiently to enable the intent and effect of the bill or joint resolution to be clearly understood."

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Many bills are written in a way that makes them clear and intuitive. But many take more work, and their intent is only made clear by the title of the bill, a summary, or by closely examining the U.S. Code.

For example, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) has proposed legislation this year, H.R. 205, that would "clarify the treatment of certain retirement plan contributions picked up by governmental employers."

Sanchez said her bill is aimed at giving local governments the flexibility to control pension costs by letting them provide a defined contribution option. But the bill never makes clear in plain English what it's doing.

It starts by saying paragraph 2 of section 414(h) of the Internal Revenue Code is amended by adding a new subparagraph, but it gives no other description of that part of the code. The new subparagraph reads:

"TREATMENT OF ELECTIONS BETWEEN ALTERNATIVE BENEFIT FORMULAS —

"(i) IN GENERAL — For purposes of subparagraph (A), a contribution shall not fail to be treated as picked up by an employing unit merely because the employee may make an irrevocable election between the application of two alternative benefit formulas involving the same or different levels of employee contributions."

Amash's bill would apply to all bills after Jan. 3, 2015.