2 Who can propose a law? Anyone can suggest an idea for a law. However, only a Member of Congress can take a proposed law to the House of Representatives or the Senate.
3 Bill is introducedA member of the House or Senate drafts the bill or in other words “sponsors” the bill.HR goes into hopper; S it is announced orallyBill is assigned a number and printed by the Government Printing Office and made public in the Congressional Record:H.R. #123S. #456The bill is then sent to the appropriate standing committee.
4 The Standing Committee All bills are “referred” to a standing committee according to topicThis is a permanent committee in the House or Senate that studies bills related to a general topic, such as education, agriculture or military.The committee chair assigns the bill to the appropriate subcommittee if one exists.
5 The SubcommitteeStudies bills related to a sub-set of the topics covered by the standing committee. Discusses the bill, can make changes and amend the bill.All of the members of the subcommittee are part of the standing committee.The subcommittee may decide to stop action on a bill they think is not necessary or wise. The committee may “table the bill” or “pigeonhole the bill” which means the bill dies.If not, they report the bill out to the standing committee.
6 The Standing Committee If the bill passes, the committee writes a report explaining:key points of the bill, changes they have made, how this bill compares to current laws and why they recommend this bill for approvalPublic hearings may be scheduled at this stageThe bill and the report are then sent to the full House or Senate (“reported out”).OR the committee could reject the bill or in other words the bill dies in committee.
7 The Rules Committee Only exists in the House of Representatives! Makes the “rules” for debate in House and acts as the “traffic officer”Decides when the bill will be up for debate, whether amendments are allowed from the floor and how long the debate will last Time limits are typically set for to 1 – 5 minutes.
8 Debate on the House floor The House is chaired by the Speaker of the House who will choose who will speak 1st.Quorum must be taken before House business can begin (218 must be present). Or they may vote to use the Committee of the Whole (100 members)The 1st Rep who speaks will be for the bill followed by a Rep who speaks against the bill.Debate on a bill can be ended by a simple majority vote (one more than half)Finally, the bill is put to a vote. If it passes it will move on to the Senate. If not it dies.
9 Debate on the Senate floor Quorum must be taken for official business (51 Senators must be present)There are no time limits to debate in the Senate. Members may speak for as long as they choose, therefore filibustering can occur! Cloture or Rule 22 could be used to stop a filibuster (60 votes needed)Amendments may be offered at any time during debate whether germane or not! Non germane amendments are called riders. A bill with many riders is called a christmas tree bill.At the end of debate, the bill is put to a vote to move on to the Conference committee or it will die.
11 Senator Strom Thurmond The Filibuster Legend In 1957 he staged the longest filibuster in Senate history, speaking for over 24 hours 18 minutes against a civil rights bill.In 1996 he became the oldest sitting Senator at the age of 100! Served SC for 48 years.
12 Conference committeeBoth the House and the Senate must pass similar forms of a bill.The two bills are sent to a conference committee, where members of both the House and Senate sit to work on the bill.They meet to work out differences between the 2 versions of the bill and vote on the final language before sending it back to both chambers for a final vote.
13 Back to the floor of the House and Senate If the bill passes in both the House and the Senate, it is sent to the President.If the bill does not pass it will die at this point of the process.Votes occur by roll call (HR it is done electronically), voice (yea/nay), and in the House by teller or division (stand for vote)
14 The President The President has 4 options with the bill: Sign it into lawBecomes law without a signature. Can let the bill sit on the desk for 10 days (excluding Sunday) without signing it while Congress is in session. The bill then becomes a law.
15 The PresidentVeto the bill. Can choose to not sign the bill and returns the bill to HR and S with a message, so it will not become a law. However, if the bill is then passed by 2/3 of both the House and the Senate, it still becomes a law This is called overriding a veto.Pocket veto the bill. If, after 10 days, the Prez has not signed it and Congress is no longer in session (adjourns), the bill does not become a law It cannot be overridden! Bill is dead!!
16 I’m just a bill,Yes, I’m only a bill,And I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.Well, it’s a long, long journeyTo the capital city,It’s a long, long waitWhile I’m sitting in committeeBut I know I’ll be a law someday . . .