Issue Background

One Subject at a Time

Congressional leaders must stop clustering unrelated bills.  Tell your elected reps to sponsor the One Subject at a Time Act (OSTA).

The "One Subject at a Time Act" (OSTA) has been reintroduced in the 115th Congress by Representative Mia Love (H.R. 395). At the end of the previous session, OSTA had 17 co-sponsors in the House (and one Senate sponsor, Rand Paul). OSTA now has a record high 24 co-sponsors. You can read the full text of the bill here.


OSTA regulates Congress. It will… 


  • Stop Congressional leaders from clustering unwanted bills with unrelated, sure-to-pass legislation
  • Require each bill to be about ONLY one subject, and to stand or fall entirely on its own merits.
  • Make it easier for your elected officials to represent you by allowing them to vote on specific proposals, instead of on groups of bills containing divergent measures.
  • Create a de facto "line item veto" by putting only one measure under the President's pen at any one time.
  • Give you expanded influence by making bad legislation more vulnerable to public opposition.

Here are two examples of specific bad bills that OSTA would have prevented from becoming laws... 


Example #1: The REAL ID Act did something Americans have always rejected. 

It created a national identification card. 

[Photo of Mia Love] This idea had so little support, it couldn't even be brought to a vote in the Senate. But Congressional leaders got it passed anyway. They attached it to a bill Senators were afraid to oppose — the "Emergency, Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief." (May, 2005)

Senators were scared to defeat a bill that funded the troops, so the REAL ID Act became the law of the land.

Example  #2: What do gambling and Port Security have in common?


Nothing. But a former Senate Majority Leader believed that gambling was immoral. So he promoted a bill to outlaw online poker. He lacked the votes to get it passed, so he attached his unwanted legislation at the last minute to a Port Security bill that most in Congress favored. The result...

Online gambling was outlawed, and a whole industry was destroyed in the blink of an eye! OSTA would prevent such outrages. Better yet…


OSTA has a powerful enforcement mechanism!


OSTA requires the courts to view any legislation passed in violation of this requirement to be null and void. This makes OSTA uniquely powerful because most laws and rules that aim to control Congress, including the Constitution, have no enforcement mechanism. But that’s not all... 


OSTA also prohibits propagandistic titles. 


Politicians will no longer be able to hide the true subjects of their bills behind propagandistic bill titles such as the "PATRIOT Act," the "Protect America Act," or the "No Child Left Behind Act." No Representative or Senator wants to be accused of voting against patriotism, protecting America, or of wanting to leave children behind. But none of those titles actually describes the subjects of those bills. Therefore...

OSTA requires that all titles describe what a bill will actually do so that Congress and the public can know what the "one subject" is. Good examples of proper titles include those we have used for our Downsize DC Agenda proposals, which we encourage you to also investigate. In addition to the properly named "One Subject at a Time Act," we also have the "Read the Bills Act," and the "Write the Laws Act."

Tell your elected reps to co-sponsor the One Subject at a Time Act. 

Your Congressional reps will count your position when you contact them. Take advantage of this fact. Tell them what you want. 

Here is the current roster of OSTA co-sponsors...

Rep. Massie, Thomas [R-KY-4]
Rep. Stewart, Chris [R-UT-2]
Rep. Walker, Mark [R-NC-6]
Rep. Buck, Ken [R-CO-4]
Rep. Blum, Rod [R-IA-1]
Rep. Duncan, Jeff [R-SC-3]
Rep. Biggs, Andy [R-AZ-5]
Rep. Harris, Andy [R-MD-1]
Rep. Loudermilk, Barry [R-GA-11]
Rep. Ratcliffe, John [R-TX-4]
Rep. Brat, Dave [R-VA-7]
Rep. Johnson, Mike [R-LA-4]
Rep. Meadows, Mark [R-NC-11]
Rep. Emmer, Tom [R-MN-6]
Rep. Schweikert, David [R-AZ-6]
Rep. Labrador, Raul R. [R-ID-1]
Rep. Collins, Doug [R-GA-9]
Rep. DeSantis, Ron [R-FL-6]
Rep. Bishop, Rob [R-UT-1]
Rep. Webster, Daniel [R-FL-11]
Rep. Brooks, Mo [R-AL-5]
Rep. Gaetz, Matt [R-FL-1]
Rep. Bacon, Don [R-NE-2]
Rep. Newhouse, Dan [R-WA-4]