6. "To provide for a 10 percent reduction in pay for Members of Congress..." (H.R. 6134)
Previous ranking: 6
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Coffman says that this bill, which he introduced on September 15, would subject the federal government to the same budget-cutting realities currently faced by many states. The measure would reduce the salaries of members of Congress by 10 percent and also subject all federal civilian employees to a two-week non-consecutive furlough in 2011. Altogether, Coffman says, the bill would save taxpayers $5.5 billion dollars. The bill is currently being considered by the House Committees on Administration, Oversight and Government Reform, and the Judiciary.
7. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173)
Previous ranking: 7
Sponsor: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Also known as the "Restoring American Financial Stability Act," or more commonly as the "financial regulatory reform bill," this legislation was signed by President Obama on July 21, six months after its initial introduction. This law is intended to address the causes of the 2008 economic crisis. It aims to create a watchdog council at the Federal Reserve and also to mitigate the dangers of "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions by providing a way to liquidate failed firms.
8. Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 (H.R. 45)
Previous ranking: 8
Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)
Named after a Chicago teenager who was gunned down in 2007 on a public bus, this act would tighten gun ownership provisions in the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, a 1993 law that mandated background checks on gun buyers. The Blair Holt act would require anyone possessing a firearm to first obtain a firearm license. The bill was introduced at the start of 2009 and has remained in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security since February of that year. [See who in Congress gets the most from gun rights groups.]
9. Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 2378)
Previous ranking: 9
Sponsor: Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)
This bill would give the government the power to impose tariffs on imports from countries whose currencies are found to be significantly undervalued or overvalued. The bill is specifically meant to target China, the world's No. 1 exporter, which has been keeping its currency's value artificially low against other world currencies and thus enjoying a trade advantage. On September 29, the bill passed the House 348-79 with bipartisan support, garnering votes from 249 Democrats and 99 Republicans.
10. Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872)
Previous ranking: 10
Sponsor: Rep. John Spratt (D-SC)
The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which contains amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (No. 5, above), was passed one week after the Patient Protection Act. Among the key changes that H.R. 4872 made are the closure of the Medicare "donut hole" and a reduction in the penalty for not having insurance. This bill also reforms the student loan system, including among its many provisions the elimination of the program via which federal student loans were administered through private institutions.