Chapter_12

Report
C H A P T E R 12
Congress in Action
© 2001 by Prentice Hall, Inc.
SECTION 1 Congress Organizes
SECTION 2 Committees in Congress
SECTION 3 How a Bill Becomes a Law: The
House
SECTION 4 The Bill in the Senate
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Chapter 12
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Chapter 12, Section 1
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Chapter 12, Section 1
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
The State of the Union is based on a
constitutional command
“He shall from time to time give to the Congress
information of the State if the Union, and recommend to
their Consideration such measures as he shall judge
necessary and expedient…”
Article II, Section 3
Since Woodrow Wilson in 1913, the President presents I in
person in front of Congress, members of the Cabinet, justices
of the Supreme Court, foreign diplomatic corps, and
dignitaries
#1 Speaker of the House
•Presides and keeps order
•Chairs sessions
•Allows members to speak by
recognizing them
•Interprets and applies the rules
•Refers bills to committee
•Puts motions to a vote and decides
outcome
•Names members of select and
conference committees
•Signs all bills and resolutions by
House
Each party holds a party caucus which is a closed meeting
of the members of each party in each house and held before Congress
convenes in January
•Meet to decide party organization, selection of floor leaders, committee
membership
•Floor leaders: in the House and Senate are the most important officers
who try to carry out the decisions of their parties' caucuses and steer floor
action to their benefit and are the chief spokespersons of their party
#2 Majority Floor Leader
 Controls order of business on the floor
 carries out decisions of party’s caucus
#3 Minority Floor Leader
 Carries out decisions of party’s caucus
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Chapter 12, Section 1

Two floor leaders are assisted by party whips who are
assistant floor leaders and they’re chosen at the party
caucus based on the recommendation of the floor leaders
#4 Majority and Minority Whips
 liaison between the party’s leadership and its rankand-file members.
 Make sure party members are present for important
votes
 Influence party members to vote with leaders
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Chapter 12, Section 1
#5 Committee Chairmen
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The committee chairmen
are the members who head
the standing committees in
each chamber of Congress
where the bulk of the work
is done
The chairman of each of
these permanent
committees is chosen from
the majority party by the
majority party caucus.
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
Duties:
 Head standing
committees
 Have major say in which
bills the committee will
consider, in what order,
at what length, and what
witnesses the
committee will call
 Manage debate and
steer passage on floor
Chapter 12, Section 1
Seniority Rule
The seniority rule, an
unwritten custom, holds
that the most important
posts will be held by those
party members with the
longest records of service
in Congress.
 The head of each
committee is often the
longest-serving member
of the committee from the
majority party.


#6 President of the
Senate
 Vice President of the

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

United States
Presides over meetings
Recognize members,
puts questions to a vote
Cannot speak or debate
on Senate floor
May vote only to break a
tie

#7 President pro
tempore
 Member of the Senate’s
majority leader
 Elected to serve as
Senate leader in the
absence of the Vice
President

#8 Majority Leader
 Controls order of
business on floor
 Carries out decisions of
party’s caucus

#9 Minority Leader
 Carries out decisions of
party’s caucus

#10 Majority and
Minority Whips
 Liaison between party
leaders and members
 Make sure each party
member are present for
important votes
 Influence party members
to vote with leaders

#11 Committee
Chairmen
 Head standing committees
 Have major say in which
bills the committee will
consider, in what order, at
what length, and what
witnesses the committee
will call
 manage debate and steer
passage on floor
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Chapter 12, Section 1
1. The presiding officer of the House of
Representatives is
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(a) the President.
(b) the Speaker of the House.
(c) the majority whip.
(d) the president pro tempore.
2. The party whips are responsible for all of the
following EXCEPT
 (a) serving as a liaison between party leaders and rank-and-file members.
 (b) presiding over the House or Senate.
 (c) informing the floor leader of anticipated vote counts in key decisions.
 (d) seeing that all members of the party are present for important votes.
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Chapter 12, Section 1
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Chapter 12, Section 2
Standing committees are permanent panels in
Congress to which bills of similar nature could be
sent.
 Most of the standing committees handle bills
dealing with particular policy matters, such as
veterans’ affairs or foreign relations.
 The majority party always holds a majority of the
seats on each committee (the lone exception being
the House Committee on Standards of Official
Conduct).

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Chapter 12, Section 2
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Chapter 12, Section 2
The Select Committees
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
Select committees are
panels established to handle
a specific matter and usually
exist for a limited time.
Most select committees are
formed to investigate a
current matter.
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The House Rules
Committee


The Rules Committee
decides whether and under
what conditions the full
House will consider a
measure.
This places great power in
the Rules Committee, as it
can speed, delay, or even
prevent House action on a
measure.
Chapter 12, Section 2
A joint committee is one
composed of members of
both houses.
 Some are permanent and
other are select that come
up when an issue needs
collaboration between both
houses

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Chapter 12, Section 2

A conference committee—a temporary, joint
body—is created to iron out differences
between bills passed by the House and
Senate before they are sent to the President.
1. The House Rules Committee
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
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(a) establishes codes of conduct.
(b) determines when and under what conditions the full House will consider a
measure.
(c) oversees the execution of bills once they are passed into law.
(d) determines which members of the Senate may vote on a measure.
2. A conference committee is formed to


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(a) iron out differences in bills passed by the House and Senate before they are sent
to the President.
(b) hold press conferences.
(c) appoint Supreme Court justices.
(d) determine rules for debate.
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Chapter 12, Section 2
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Chapter 12, Section 3
What steps does a successful bill
follow as it moves through the
House?
*Fill in your flow map with each step*
#1 A bill is introduced: its a
proposed law presented to the
House or Senate for consideration.
A bill or resolution usually deals
with a single matter, but
sometimes a rider dealing with an
unrelated matter is included.
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Chapter 12, Section 3
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Chapter 12, Section 3
#2 The clerk of
the House gives
the bill a number
and title
#3 First reading:
bill is entered it
into the House
Journal and the
Congressional
Record for the
day.
#4 Speaker refers the
bill to the
appropriate standing
committee: they act
as sieves and sift
through all the bills,
reject most, and
consider only those
they find worthy of
floor consideration
Discharge Petitions
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Most bills die in committee are pigeonholed, or put away,
never to be acted upon..die in the committee
If a committee pigeonholes a bill that a majority of the House
wishes to consider, it can be brought out of committee via a
discharge petition.
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Chapter 12, Section 3
#5 Subcommittee may
hold hearings or take
informational junkets:
committees send bill to
subcommittees who
will hold public
hearings or take a trip
to gather information
relating to a measure
#7 Rules committee
grants rule to permit floor
consideration
#6 Committee reports bill: once a bill
completes its work on a bill, the measure
goes back to the full committee and report
on it:
a. Favorably and “do pass”
b. Refuse to report the bill and pigeonhole it
c. Report the bill in an amended form
d. Report bill with an unfavorable
recommendation
e. Report a committee bill which is a new bill
that substitutes the old one
#8 Bill is placed on appropriate
calendar which is a schedule of the
order in which bills will be taken up
on the floor … 5 calendars based on
topic of bill and topics are assigned
certain days to talk about them
#9 Bill receives second reading- may
be debated and amended
#10 House votes on amendments,
motions, and full bill : either voice
votes, roll calls, or now
computerized voting system
#11 Approved bill is engrossed:
printed in its final form
#12 Bill receives a third reading by
title only
#13 Final vote is taken and signed
by Speaker
#14 A page, a legislative aide, carries it
to the Senate side of the capitol and
places it on the Senate president’s
desk
How a Bill Become a Law Illustration

http://www.thisnation.com/media/figures/leg
proc/#
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Chapter 12, Section 3
1. Riders are
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(a) measures attached to a bill dealing with an unrelated matter.
(b) bills dealing with transportation matters only.
(c) measures included in a bill that are unconstitutional.
(d) none of the above.
2. All of the following are options for committees
to take once they have finished reviewing a bill
EXCEPT
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(a) refusing to report the bill.
(b) reporting a bill in amended form.
(c) reporting a committee bill.
(d) passing the bill into law.
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Chapter 12, Section 3
How is a bill introduced in the Senate?
 How do the Senate’s rules for debate differ from
those in the House?
 What is the role of conference committees in the
legislative process?
 What actions can the President take after both
houses have passed a bill?

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Chapter 12, Section 4
Introducing a Bill
• Bills are introduced by senators, who are formally
recognized for that purpose.
• Proceedings are much less formal in the Senate
compared to the House.
Rules for Debate
• The major differences between House and Senate rules
regard debate over measures.
• This freedom of debate allows for the fullest possible
discussion of matters on the floor.
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Chapter 12, Section 4
Any measure enacted
by Congress must have
been passed by both
houses in identical
form.
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Chapter 12, Section 4
 Turn to page ____ and use
that to complete your flow
map on how a bill becomes a
law.
1. A filibuster is

(a) a tool used by senators to speed up the process of passing legislation.
 (b) the name for a bill once it is signed into law.
 (c) a delay tactic in which a bill is talked to death.
 (d) an executive privilege that allows for the amending of passed bills.
2. All of the following are options for the
President for dealing with a bill once he
receives it EXCEPT

(a) allowing it to become law by not acting upon it for 10 days.
 (b) signing the bill into law.
 (c) altering the bill and signing it into law.
 (d) vetoing the bill.
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Chapter 12, Section 4

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