In 18 words, President Obama could do what only George Washington and Ronald Reagan has accomplished. That is to make something that has no legal basis , but becomes unwritten law.
For George Washington, it was slipping the words 'so help me God' in his oath of office. The original oath had no such words, but he felt compelled to add them. Now, it has become a unspoken rule.
Reagan accomplished the same thing, albeit to a slightly less significant degree: he was the first President to salute the Marines as he boarded and exited Air Force One.
For Obama, it could be done in an executive action. It would carry no weight as law, yet it would completely change the legislative system as it stands, streamline bills, and secure his place as one of the most trans formative Presidents in United States history.
And no future President would DARE to rescind it when they start their term. It would be renewed in perpetuity.
It would read as follows:
"Effective immediately, any bills containing language not germane to the original intent of the bill shall be vetoed."
Period. The end. If you try to sneak in a gun control act on a agriculture bill (The Lautenberg Amendment) you'd better have a 2/3 majority in both houses to do so. If you're going to take anti abortion language to a motorcycle safety law (I'm looking at you North Carolina) it'll be vetoed.
Granted, it would take some initial conviction. And a lot of veto pens. And he'd have to veto his own party's legislation as well to get the point across.
What will this do for the legislative process ? It'll force Congress to stop poisoning legislation. It'll streamline the bills process. It'll reduce the size of bills that pass through Congress. It'll open up the table for more legislating and less grandstanding.
And For the citizens? No longer will infrastructure bills talk about shutting down planned parenthood. No longer will agriculture bills have gun control amendments. You'll be able to contact your congress-critter and voice your support for the bill more succintly because there will be less of it to decipher. Also, you would get TRUE bipartisan riders, because they required 2/3s of Congress to approve.
If Congress wants to author a gun control bill, or an anti-abortion bill. Great. Do it. That's what they're for. To author, debate, and vote on legislation. But don't stuff it in an omnibus bill like a sticker in a box of Cracker Jacks.
Legislate with integrity. It's a noble concept, I know. But once the Congress gets used to the notion, and the American people get used to bills that are 10s of pages long instead of 1000s - everyone will be much happier.