Bell Ringer • What is a “Christmas-tree” bill? Unrelated riders that are attached to a bill. • What is pigeon-holing? When the committee ignores a bill and it dies (just goes away). Congress at Work Chapter 7 How a Bill Becomes a Law Section 1 • Fewer than 10% of all proposed bills actually become law. • Why? – Process is long and arduous – more than 100 step. – Willingness to bargain and compromise. – Congressmen will sometimes introduce bills that have no chance at becoming law simply to be on record about an idea or policy • The 111th Congress considered: •6,156 pieces of legislation in the House. •3,791 pieces of legislation in the Senate. •237 pieces of that legislation were signed into Public Law. As of 9-20-10 Types of Bills Bills and Resolutions Private Public Simple Resolution Joint Resolution Concurrent Resolution Public • Deal with general matters and apply to the entire nation. – Examples: tax bills, education laws. Private • Deal with individual people or places. • Example: Renaming a post office or other public building. Resolutions • Resolutions differ from bills in that they deal with matters that affect only one house or the other, and they do not relate directly to the public will. • Resolutions may change rules or procedures, or they may wish a member a happy birthday or a prosperous retirement. • They do not require the signature of the President. Types of Resolutions Simple • Deal with matters affecting only one house of Congress. Does not require signature of president and does not become law. Joint • Passed by both houses and requires presidential signature to become public law. • Used to correct errors in previous bills or appropriate money for a special purpose. • When used to propose constitutional amendments the presidential signature is not required. Concurrent • Cover matters requiring action of both houses, but does not need a law. Introduction of a Bill http://www5.unitedstreaming.com/index.cfm Our Federal Government: The Legislative Branch Bill Numbers • House bills begin with "H.R." (H.R.112100) • Simple Resolutions begin with "H. Res." (H.Res. 112-100) • Concurrent Resolutions begin with "H. Con. Res." (H. Con. Res. 112-100) • Joint Resolutions begin with "H. J. Res“ (H.J. Res. 112-100). • Senate bills begin with "S." (S. 112100). Public Law • Become PL 112-100 Source: http://clerkkids.house.gov/laws/ Bell Ringer • On what committee does all important work on tax bills and other bills involving money begin? Taxing and Spending Bills Section 2 What does it cost to run the government? • http://www.uwsa.com/us-national-debt.html How Does the Government Pay for it All? Article I, Section 8 • “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States…” • "Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.“ » Oliver Wendell Holmes • “There are only two sure things in life – death and taxes.” » Benjamin Franklin Where do bills that deal with money begin? House Ways and Means Committee • Accepts or rejects presidential requests for tax increases and cuts. • Makes rules to determine who pays what taxes and who receives tax benefits. Closed Rule • Until 1973 no amendments could be added to a tax bill on the floor. • Only Ways and Means Committee members could have a hand in writing a bill. Senate’s Role • Article I, Section 7 allows the Senate to propose amendments. • Can also eliminate provisions senators object to. How the House and Senate Appropriate Money • Article I, Section 9 • “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” • Appropriation is a must before money can be spent. • Once appropriation has taken place, authorization of spending must take place. • Authorization sets up federal programs and specifies how much money may be appropriated for that program. Appropriation Committees • Use your textbook to find out the following: – What They Do: Receive, review, and amend appropriations requests from executive agency budgets. Report out all bills to the executive branch. – What They Cannot Do: Kill bills. Affect uncontrollable expenditures and entitlements. What are Uncontrollables and Entitlements? • Accounts for about 70% of annual appropriations and authorizations. • Uncontrollables – expenditures that the government is legally committed to finance. – Social Security, Interest on national debt, federal contract already signed. • Entitlements – social programs that continue on a yearly basis. Bell Ringer • What is pork-barrel legislation? A government project that benefits a legislators home state and/or district (extra left over). Major Influences on Lawmakers The President Voters in home states and districts Lawmaker’s Political Party Senator Staff or Committee Members Or Speaker of the House Representative Senate Majority Leader Lobbyists for special interest groups and PACS Each Other Campaign Fund Contributors and Campaign Workers Helping Constituents Section 4 Two Hat Act • Problem solvers for their constituents back home. • Must make sure state and/or district gets its share of federal money, projects, and contracts. How do they juggle??? •CASEWORKERS!!!! Caseworker Responsibility in Representative Artur Davis’ Office • • • • • • • • Housing Military Postal Veterans Social Security Medicare Immigration IRS • • • • • • • Pension benefits Passports/ visas Education Labor Service academy nominations Flag requests Requests for White House tours Three Purposes of Casework • Helps lawmakers get re-elected. • A way in which Congress can oversee the executive branch. – How are they handling federal programs (Ex: Social Security, Veteran’s Benefits, Worker’s Compensation). • Provides a way for average citizens to cope with the largeness of the national government. – Red Tape Bring Home the Bacon • Through pork-barrel legislation. • Through winning federal grants and contracts. • Through keeping federal projects. Public Works Bills “Pork-Barrel Legislation” • Accounts for billions of dollars each year and thousands of jobs. • Examples: Post Offices, Dams, Military Bases, Waterway improvements, Federally-funded highways (Interstates), Veterans’ hospitals, Transit systems. Pork-Barrel • Came into use as a political term in the post-Civil War era. It comes from the plantation practice of distributing rations of salt port to slaves from wooden barrels. When used to describe a bill, it implies the legislation is loaded with special project for members of Congress to distribute to their constituents back home as an act of generosity to the federal taxpayers. You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours • When two or more congressman agree to help each other it is called “logrolling.” Grants and Contracts • Controlled by agencies of the executive branch (i.e. Departments). • Harder for the lawmakers to control flow of funds. Activity • Look through several of the local newspapers to find examples of federal money spent in Alabama, Tuscaloosa or the West Alabama area. Present your findings in the form of a radio news broadcast. Explain how the pork-barrel legislation benefited the state or community. (Page 203).