Last week Rep. Smith (R, TX), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced HR 963, the See Something, Say Something Act of 2011. Now if you think that this sounds familiar it is because I wrote last week about S 505 which had the same title. In fact, the observant reader might remember that I wrote that the earlier bill was a companion measure to HR 495.
I explained in the blog about S 505 that a companion bill is an identical bill introduced into the second house of Congress to make it easier to get the bill through committees in an expeditious manner. The language in S 505 and HR 495 are identical.
HR 963 is not technically a companion bill to S 505 and it can’t be a companion bill to HR 495, having been introduced into the same house of Congress. I say that it cannot ‘technically’ be considered a companion bill because it is not identical; it differs in just one word from the other two bills. In §890A(b)(1) S 963 says, in part; “authorized official as defined by section (d)(1)(A)”. The other two bills say; “as defined by sub-section”. As you can clearly see this is a substantial difference (SARCASM ALERT).
The earlier bill, authored by Rep. King (R, NY) was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration, the Committee chaired by Rep. Smith (R, TX). It is obvious that Chairman Smith and his committee staff are extremely diligent in reviewing legislation referred to their committee (I know there was already one sarcasm alert in this post). Anyone want to bet which bill gets reported out of Committee?
BTW: In my listing of legislation, I am going to tack HR 963 to the listing for HR 495 to which I have already tacked S 505. Sorry about that Rep. Smith, but here I try to go first come, first serve.