I_m Just A Bill

Report
How A Bill Becomes A Law
Structure of the Capital
How A Bill
Becomes
A
Law
Overview
Step #1: Introducing A Bill
Anyone may introduce
a Bill
1.
In the House of
Representatives:
a)
1)
2)
In the Senate:
b)
1)
2.
Hand Bill to a clerk
Drop Bill into a
“hopper”
Being recognized by the
presiding officer and
announcing the bill’s
introduction
Bill is numbered and
sent to a printer
Step #1: Introducing A Bill
 Types of Bills:
a)
Public- public affairs
b) Privatea)
a person pressing a
financial claim against the
government
b)
Seeking special permission
for something (citizenship)
(once numerous)
 Types of Resolutions
a)
Simple (passed by either
house)
a)
Used for matters such as
establishing the rules
under which each body will
operate
 Types of Resolutions
(Cont)
b) Concurrent
a)
Settles housekeeping and
procedural matters that
impact both houses
Both Simple and
Concurrent are not signed
by the president and do not
have the force of law

c)
Resolution-
Joint Resolutionsa)
Requires approval of both
houses + the signature of
the President
a)
Essentially, same as law
b)
Often used to propose
constitutional
amendments…
Rushing Legislation…
What happens to bill after Congressional Session
ends?
Congressional Motivation:
 Lengthy process
 Role of Constituents
Presidential Motivation:
 Lengthy process
 Can not introduce bill
himself
 Parties in Power
 Midterm Elections
Step #2: Study By Committee
 Types of Committees:

Standing or Full Committees







21 House & 17 Senate
Special or Select Committees
Sub Committees
Joint Committees
Rules Committee
Conference Committee
Committee of the Whole
Bill referred to a committee
by either;
1.
a)
b)
Speaker of the House
Presiding officer of the
Senate
Rules govern which
committee will get a bill


Rules vary per house
Step #2: Study By Sub-Committee
2. Referred to a Subcommittee

Small divisions of the Full
or Standing Committees
What happens in a
subcommittee?
Witnesses appear
Evidence is taken
Questions are asked
Hearings used to
a)
b)
c)

Sub Committees are the
research arm of the larger,
Full/Standing Committee.
d)
a)
b)
c)
Inform members
Permit interest groups
Build public support

Pros of Hearings

Cons of Hearings
Step #2: Study By Sub-Committee
Multiple Referral-


Purpose and effectiveness
Sequential Referral


Purpose and effectiveness
3. After hearing, sub-committee
“marks up” bill
a)
b)
Make revisions and additions
Changes do not become part of
the bill
a)
Unless they are approved by
the House of which the
committee is apart]
Step #2: Study By Committee
4. Back to the Standing
Committee for a possible
vote
After being studied in Sub
Committee, bills are returned
to the full committee for further
debate.
a)

If majority of the committee
votes to report a bill out of
committee, it goes on

Accompanied by a report that
explains:
 Why the committee favored it
 Why they wish to see its
amendments, if any, adopted
b) If the committee does not report
favorably on the bill, the bill dies
Note about Committees:
 Committees may hold bills hostage!
 Discharge Petition
 Full House or Senate can get a
stalled bill out of committee and
onto the floor with a d.p.


House needs 218 votes
Senate needs a motion and a vote
Out of Committee…onto Rules
5. Bill must be placed on calendar before it can go
before the house again

Though it goes on the calendar,
Not considered in order
or
 Necessarily at all

6. Moves onto Rules Committee
Are we
done yet?
I’m bored
Rules Committee
 Adopt a rule to govern the
procedures under which
the bill will be considered
1. Closed Rule:
a)
b)
sets strict time limits on
debate
forbids the introduction of
amendments from the
floor (except if offered by
sponsoring committee)
Open Rule:
2.
a)
Permits amendments
Restrictive Rule:
3.
a)
 Exceptions to the Rules:
 In House:
1.
Member can move that
the rules be suspended
 Requires 2/3 vote
2.
A discharge position can
be filed
3.
House can use the
“Calendar Wednesday
Procedure”
 Rules are in place to
prevent “riders”

Permits some amendments
but not others


Provision added to
legislation that is not
germane to the bill’s
purpose
“Christmas Tree” Bill
Purpose of Riders?
Step #3: Floor Debate
THE SENATE
THE HOUSE
Discussed by “Committee of
the Whole”
1.
a)
b)
Speaker chooses presider
Committee debates, amends,
decides final shape
During this time, no riders
allowed- unless related to
bill’s purpose
Time for debate divided
evenly
2.
3.




Whoever is present at the time
Quorum for C.W.: 100 ppl (usually
218)
5 minutes per person
“Quorum Call”- time staller
 No rule limiting debate
 Senators can speak as long as
they want


Remarks need not be relevant
Anyone can offer an Amendment at
anytime


Amendments need not be germane
Often had many riders
 No Committee of the Whole
 If house has passed a bill,
Committee hearing can be
waived in Senate
 Senate Filibuster- time staller
Step #3: Floor Debate
 THE SENATE (continued)
 Filibuster -The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged
speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action.

Strom Thurmond



set a record in 1957 by filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for 24 hours and
18 minutes, although the bill ultimately passed. Thurmond broke the previous
record of 22 hours and 26 minutes set by Wayne Morse (I-OR) in 1953
protesting the Tidelands Oil legislation.
Visited a steam room before his filibuster in order to dehydrate himself so he
could drink without urinating. An aide stood by in the cloakroom with a pail in
case of emergency.“
Cloture Rule- parliamentary procedure by which debate is ended and an
immediate vote is taken on the matter under discussion.





Requires 16 Senators for petition
Motion is voted on 2 days after petition is introduced
To pass, 3/5 of Senate membership is needed- 60 Senators
If passed, each Senator is limited to 1 hour of debate
After that, total debate can only = 100 hours (including role call)
vs.
Step #3: Floor Debate

Cloture (Continued)

Double Tracking One way to keep Senate going during cloture
 Disputed bill is shelved temporarily so that the Senate can get
other work done
Step #4 Voting
 THE HOUSE
Voice Votea)
Yea vs Nay
2.
Division (Standing Vote)a)
Stand and be counted
(in both, members names are not recorded)
3.
Teller Votea)
the members pass between two tellers..yeas first, nays second
b)
Usually recorded
4.
Role Call Votea)
Yea or Nay to people’s names
b)
Can be done at the request of 1/5 of reps present
1.

The Senate
1.
No teller vote and not electronic counters
Step #5 (Sometimes): Reconciling Different Bills
 If a bill passes the house differently in the House than in
the Senate, differences must be reconciled.
 If changes minor, last house may refer back to first house
to accept alterations
 If differences are major, bill goes to conference
committee:


Each house votes to make committee
Members picked by chairperson of the House +
Senate Committees that have been handling the bill
3-15 members per house (depending on bill)
 Decision must be approved by majority of all members

 Bill goes back to each house to accept or reject
Step #6: Off To The White House
 If bill is accepted by both
houses, goes to President
 President’s options:
 Sign or veto
 If President signs, Bill
becomes a law!
 If President vetos, bill goes
back to Congress
 Congress can override with
a 2/3 vote of members
present in each house (if
quorum exists)
 Vote must be a roll call
Review…
1.
2.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
Who can propose a bill?
How is a resolution different from a bill?
Simple
Concurrent
In which house do “bills for raising revenue” get proposed? Why?
Why is it cool to be on the ways and means committee?
What does an appropriation mean?
Os multiple referral of a bill better than the traditional way of referring a bill?
Is the discharge petition useful in speeding things up?
Why is adopting a closed rule most common in the House, not in the Senate?
How is the “Committee of the Whole” different from a quorum?
What are some differences that exist as far as Floor Debate in each house?
What is a filibuster?
Does cloture help move things along?
What are the advantages/disadvantages of a teller vote?
Does Congress take too long to accomplish its goal?
Are there too many members concerned with self interest?
The End!

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