Column: President’s pen ushers in free-for-all on bills

Want to know what’s causing a lot of people in Washington to work long hours right now? Here’s a hint: It’s not immigration reform or gun control or, for that matter, any other legislation coming down the pike. Instead, it’s a pair of three-year-old laws.

The Affordable Care Act (known to most Americans as Obamacare) and the Wall Street reform act known as “Dodd-Frank” both became law in 2010. Most people consider these major pieces of legislation old news, but that’s because their civics teachers misled them back in junior high school.

In the How-A-Bill-Becomes-A-Law version of Congress that many of us were taught, the story ends when the bill is signed by the president. It doesn’t. In fact, the president’s signature is more like a starter’s pistol.

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