Presentation on theme: "The Legislative Process"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Legislative Process How Congress WorksThe Legislative Process
2 A Bill v. A LawBill - a proposed new law introduced within a legislature that has not yet been passed, enacted or adopted
3 A Bill v. A LawLaw - a bill or act passed by a legislative body
4 Types of Billspublic bill – proposed legislative bill that deals with matters of general concern and applicationprivate bill – a proposed legislative bill that deals with specific private, personal, or local matters rather than general affairsappropriation bill – legislative motion authorizing the government to spend money
5 resolution - a measure expressing opinions on policies or issues Types of Resolutionsresolution - a measure expressing opinions on policies or issuessimple resolution – measure dealing with “house-keeping” or procedural matters that only affect one housejoint resolution – measure when approved by both houses and the president carries the force of lawconcurrent resolution – legislative motion that must be approved by both houses, but does not have the force of law
6 Congressmen Wear Many Hats LegislatorRepresentativePartisanCommittee MemberPolitician
7 A Congressman’s Balancing Act DelegateTrusteeFloor vote on the Energy Bill!How should I vote? My constituents first or my country???
9 Step 1: An Idea for a Bill Sources: Member(s) of Congress Private CitizenInterest GroupFederal AgencyWhite HouseGovernor(s)Mayor(s)
10 Step 2: Writing & Introduction of Bill Senate:Bill formerly read aloud on floorBill then given to clerkReferred to committee by Steering CommitteeHouse:Bill dropped in hopperReferred to committee by the SpeakerSen. Smith introduces bill on the Senate floor~ Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
11 Step 3: Committee Action On average, 4,000 to 5,000 bills are submitted to Congress each yearEvery bill is assigned a number and is sent to the appropriate standing committeeNew bills typically go directly to a subcommittee, which can hold hearings on the billExperts testify, other evidence is consideredBills are “marked-up” (revised and rewritten)Subcommittees send bills to full committee for final revisions and a recommendation
12 Step 3: Committee Action II Bills receiving a favorable committee report are reported out for consideration by the whole House or Senate.Most bills die in committee (pigeonholed)If a majority of the House wishes to consider a bill, they can force it out of committee with a discharge petition (requires a majority vote of all House memberscommittee members serve as “floor managers” of the bill
13 Step 4: Floor Action - Senate Party leaders schedule bills for floor debate on the calendarUnlimited debateFilibuster - member(s) keep talking to block debate on a billCloture vote by 3/5 of Senators (60) can end filibusterFloor vote: Roll Call, Standing, VoiceSenator Strum Thurman still holds the record for the longest filibuster - 24 hrs 18 min. on the 1957 Civil Rights Act
14 Step 4: Floor Action - House Rules Committee schedules bills on calendar & decides whether amendments may be addedLimited debateFloor vote: Recorded, Standing, Voice
15 Step 5: Approved Bill Crosses Over to Other House Approved bill must pass each chamber by a simple majority
16 Step 6: Conference Committee Members from each chamber meet to reconcile differences in the two billsSenate-House Conference Committee works out details of the 2003 Healthy Forest Restoration Act
17 Step 7: Both Chambers Vote on Final Version of the Bill
18 Step 8: President Considers Bill President can:sign the bill into lawveto billpocket vetoNote: Congress can override veto with 2/3 vote in each house; only 4% of vetos have been overriden
19 Sausage Making Presidents and Congress: Partners and Protagonists Presidents attempt to persuade Congress that what they want is what Congress wants.Presidents have many resources to influence Congress.
20 Sausage Making Party, Constituency, and Ideology Party Influence – Party leaders cannot force party members to vote a particular way, but many do vote along party lines.Polarized Politics – Differences between Democrats and Republicans in Congress have grown considerably since 1980.
21 Sausage Making Party, Constituency, and Ideology Constituency Opinion – On the controversial issues, members are wise to vote based their constituency opinion.Member Ideology – The dominant determinant of member’s vote on most issues is their ideology.
22 Sausage Making Lobbyists and Interest Groups 35,000 registered lobbyists represent 12,000 organizations seeking to influence Congress.The bigger the issue, the more lobbyists will be working on it.Lobbyists try to influence legislators’ votes.Congress can ignore, reject, and regulate the lobbyists.
23 Sausage Making“Pork” – aka “pork-barrel legislation” – bills to benefit constituents in hope of gaining their votesLogrolling – Congress members promise to support each other’s proposals through an exchange of votes and persuasionChristmas-tree bill –bill with many riders (pork)in Senate, no limit exists on amendments, so Senators try to attach riders that will benefit their home state
24 TERM LIMITS DEBATENo current limit on how many terms members of Congress can serveSome argue this has weakened popular control of Congress, reps might be unresponsive to their constituentsSome argue most experienced reps have the expertise to bring home more benefits (pork, riders, etc.)
25 Critical Thinking:Fact: About 5,000 bills are introduced in Congress every year, but only about 150 are signed into law.Explain why so few bills become law.Is that a good thing or a bad thing?Should the legislative process in Congress be reformed? If yes, what changes would you recommend? If not, why not?
26 Title: Imagine there’s no Congress Title: Imagine there’s no Congress Artist: Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-GazetteDate: 6/06/07 Source: