Among the thousands of bills piled up before Congress this year, you'll find the BABE RUTH Act.
Something to memorialize a Baltimore-born Red Sox pitcher who hit some home runs in New York? Nope. Turns out it's the Build America Bonds Extension for Rural and Urban Transportation and Highways Act, sponsored by Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif.
It seems that members of Congress are staying late at the office thinking up ways to get their bills above the media clatter. Contort the language into a cutesy name and you get a shiny bauble for the press release.
Just a few days ago Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., filed legislation to create a national infrastructure bank for transportation, energy and water projects. You probably don't recognize the Building and Upgrading Infrastructure for Long-Term Development Act, but as the BUILD Act - click! - you get it.
Richardson's appropriation of The Babe isn't the first of her acronym adventures. Earlier this year she filed the FREIGHT FOCUS Act - the Freight is the Future Of Commerce in the United States Act.
Kerry's Senate colleagues are not immune. This year Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. filed a measure that first appeared last year, the Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation Act. You got it - the FREIGHT Act.
We can't omit another repeater from last year, the RAMP Act, or Realize America's Maritime Promise Act sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany Jr, R-La., which calls for spending down the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to keep channels and harbors dredged.
All this is from a quick search of pending legislation using 'transportation' as the query, but lawmakers haven't limited their creativity to boats, planes, trains and trucks. Consider the BULB Act, or Better Use of Light Bulbs, sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. It's name says it all. The bill calls for the repeal of energy laws banning the production of incandescent light bulbs in America.
Finally, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, R-Ill., put the public first when he filed a bill for tighter controls on spending for congressional overseas junkets, the Suspending Travel After Years of Pleasure trips on Unwitting Taxpayers Act. That's a mouthful, so we'll call it the STAY PUT Act of 2011.
-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at firstname.lastname@example.org.