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How a Bill Becomes a Law “There are two things you shouldn’t see being made: sausages and laws. ”
What is a bill? • A bill is a written idea for a law. • A bill can be started in either house of Congress, except revenue bills. • Since both houses must pass a bill, 3% only of all bills become laws. • It is a very long, involved process. Why is it that way?
House of Origin Only a member Bill is introduced. of Congress • Gets numbered. may submit a • Gets a reading. bill. But any citizen can suggest a bill to him/her.
Bill goes to committee. Because there is so much to do, the work of Congress is divided up.
What are some committees? • Appropriations • Where money is spent • Budget • How money is spent • Armed Services • Defense, military • Labor • Working conditions… • Foreign Affairs • Relations with other countries • Judiciary • Courts, impeachment
Leaders of committees are very powerful members of Congress. Who are the chairpersons? Two key qualifications: • Member of majority party. • Seniority.
Bill goes to committee. Because there is so much to do, the work of Congress is divided up. Bill is considered by a subcommittee.
What happens in a subcommittee? • It is where it is investigated most thoroughly. • It is here where it lives or dies. This is the most critical stage. • A bill may be in subcommittee from 6 months to a full year.
Goes back to writer… Whole committee votes Full house for vote No Yes Put on calendar Must be a quorum present (majority)
Goes back to committee… Full house They can debate and vote on amendments Final version of bill No Yes * To pass a bill a mere majority is required
They too must pass it for it to become a law! No Goes to other house for its consideration Yes *
What are some of the things people do in all this? • First of all, each house has leadership positions to guide legislation. • Since there are so many members of Congress and so much needs to get done, these people are very powerful!
Who are they? House • The Speaker • Majority Leader • Minority Leader • Majority Whip • Minority Whip • Dennis Hastert (R-Il) • Tom De. Lay (R-Tx) • Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) • Roy Blunt (R-Mn) • Steny Hoyer (D-Md)
Who are they? Senate • The President • Pres Pro Temp • Majority Leader • Minority Leader • Dick Cheney (V. P. ) • Ted Stevens (R-Ak) • Bill Frist (R-Tn) • Tom Daschle (D-SD)
Debate in the House • Dictated by the Speaker and the Rules Committee. • Procedures for debate and amendments is much more strict and limited.
Debate in the Senate • The Senate is considered “the most deliberative body in the world. ” • This means they feel that if a law is to be as good as it must be, then all the talking about it should be allowed, without limit, before it is considered for a vote.
Debate in the Senate • What do you think a clever Senator might do, then, if he doesn’t like a bill and knows he is in the minority? • He can filibuster!
If the bill passes both houses… Then it goes to the president’s desk! There, four things can happen…
If the bill passes both houses… And if, if by chance, the president signs it, then… Oh boy oh boy…
Congratulations, Bill, you’re now a Law!