Legislation can be head-scratching. So can the names of legislation.
In the hopes of winning attention for their bills, lawmakers often report to the use of what they hope will be seen as a clever acronym.
An example would be the introduction of the SANTOS Act this week.
Introduced by two Democrats, it is inspired by Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), the freshman lawmaker under fire for lying about his background, and would require federal candidates to release additional biographical information to the federal government in order to run for Congress.
It’s far from the first bill to seek attention with a carefully-scripted acronym of a title.
Here are some of the quirkest examples.
1. The STABLE GENIUS Act
The Standardizing Testing and Accountability Before Large Elections Giving Electors Necessary Information for Unobstructed Selection (STABLE GENIUS) Act was introduced by Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) in 2018, poking fun at then-President Trump’s claim to reporters that he was a “very stable genius.”
The bill would have required the presidential candidates of a political party to submit to a standardized medical examination and disclose the results before the election. The bill never went anywhere in Congress. But Boyle used its introduction to pounce on the president.
“The President believes he is a ‘stable genius.’ I do not,” Boyle said at the time.
2. The COVFEFE Act
The Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE) Act is another bill that emerged from the Trump era.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) introduced the bill in 2017 to amend the Presidential Records Act to include social media as material that must be documented during an administration. But the name of the bill comes from Trump’s since-deleted tweet of an incomplete sentence that read “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”
Trump aides insisted that the tweet made sense and that it was not a typo. Trump leaned into the saga by later tweeting “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!”
The bill died in Congress.
3. The CONFUCIUS Act
The Concerns Over Nations Funding University Campus Institutes in the United States (CONFUCIUS) Act was introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) in 2021 to scale back the influence of Confucius Institutes in the U.S. The institutes are organizations sponsored by the Chinese government, many of which were at American universities, that promoted the study of Chinese culture.
But the CONFICIUS Act, which unanimously passed the Senate in 2021, would grant full authority over the institutes to the universities that host them. Kennedy said the bill would fight back against the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
The bill never garnered consideration in the House.
4. The ACRONYM Act
Former Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) would not be a fan of this list.
In 2015, Honda introduced the Accountability and Congressional Responsibility On Naming Your Motions (ACRONYM) Act, a bill that would have prohibited the inclusion of words in the title of a bill just to create an acronym.
“As an educator for over 30 years, it offends me to see the English language so brutally abused,” Honda said at the time.
Honda’s bid to have this type of naming discontinued failed in a floor vote in the House.
5. GIVE MILK Act
The Giving Increased Variety to Ensure Milk Into the Lives of Kids (GIVE MILK) Act was introduced in 2021 by former Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.) and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) to increase the access to milk for those utilizing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC.)
The bill would have reversed an Obama-era policy that restricted WIC participants to choosing low-fat or non-fat milk. It would have allowed participants to also select reduced-fat (2 percent) milk and whole milk.
The bill never got a vote in the House.
6. The ZOMBIE Act
The Zeroing Out Money for Buying Influence after Elections (ZOMBIE) Act was a bill introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in 2021 that would require politicians to close their campaign accounts if they are no longer running for federal office and before they register as a foreign agent or lobbyist.
The name is a nod to what is referred to as a “zombie account”, which is when politicians retire or lose an election and have significant campaign funds left over. The stagnant funds can then be used by politicians to contribute to other committees and causes as they transition to a new career.
It did not get a vote in the Senate.
7. The CRACK Act
The Cutting off Rampant Access to Crack Kits (CRACK) Act was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in early 2022 to bar any funds from the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed in 2021, from being used to purchase, supply or distribute crack pipes or other similar drug paraphernalia.
The proposed bill came after conservative outcries that some of the funds from a federal grant program in the American Rescue Plan were being used to distribute pipes for smoking crack. The White House insisted that federal money would not be spent on pipes.
“I am glad the Biden Administration acknowledges sending crack pipes to our nation’s addicts is a bad idea,” Rubio said at the time. “It is pure insanity to think the federal government would fund crack pipe distribution.”
It did not receive a vote in the Senate.