What questions arise looking at these demographics?
Step 1 The Bill is introduced to the House (or Senate) by a member.
Step 2 Bill is given a number and assigned to a committee to begin the legislation process. (H.F. - and the number it was received in)
Step 3 After the bill has been assigned to a committee, the committee has three options: A) Kill the bill Member of Committee Vote Against B)Pigeonhole the bill (Most common) They Ignore it and Take No Action C) Send the bill onto the full House for consideration
Step 4 Bill is debated on the House Floor if the leadership of the House wants to consider the bill for a full vote. Once that decision is made, the House can either: A)defeat the bill B)pass the bill *Note that the Senate process is the same for Steps 1-4 but that any money bills must originate in the House of Representatives.
Step 5 The House version of the bill and the Senate version of the bill must be sent to a Conference Committee to revise the bill and then resubmit the bills to both chambers for voting. If there are major differences in the two versions of the bill, the bill must go back to the House and the Senate for revisions. Bills with strong support will be revised and voted upon quickly by the two houses. However, if one of the two houses is reluctant on the bill or the leadership is, the bill may be sent back to a committee for revisions.
Step 6 Revisions are made if needed and then the two houses must vote on the new bill now identical in form for each chambers approval. In order for a bill to pass, only a simple majority of members present is needed. Only if it is a treaty or other type of special legislation must it be by two- thirds votes in both chambers.
Step 7 The bill approved by both houses is now sent onto the President were either: A)The President signs the bill and it becomes law. B)The President does not sign the bill and Congress is in session for 10 days and the bill automatically becomes law. C)The President vetoes the bill thereby killing the bill process. D)The President does not sign the bill and Congress is adjourned for 10 days and bill is automatically vetoed and thus, it is dead. (Pocket Veto)
If President Vetos the Bill…. A) Revise the bill to meet the President’s expectations or desires. B) Forget about the bill, put in back into the hopper, and try again later or next session. C)Attempt an override of the President’s Veto.
Overrides Note that overrides are not very common especially if the House and the Senate are of the same political party as the President. If the House is of a different party than the President, an override attempt is more likely but there may be political ramifications on future bills they submit to the President or the Senate so an override is not very likely. Overrides are not very common at the federal level.
How do members of Congress vote? Representative View – Members vote to please constituents in order to get reelected Does not apply to all votes. Constituents must have a clear view and vote must be publicized. Applies in cases of civil rights and social welfare but not foreign policy. No clear relationship between those in safe seats or those in marginal seats.
How do members of Congress vote? Organizational View – Members vote based on cues from colleagues Applies when there is no vital constituent interests at stake Party is the principal cue Party members of the committee sponsoring the bill are most influential.
How do members of Congress vote? Attitudinal View – Members vote based on their ideology In the house the members ideology is more similar to the average voter. (WHY?) Senate is less representative of public opinion (WHY?) – Has it lead to a more polarized Congress? Since 1994 Congress has become more polarized along party lines. More hostility in Congress than in voters.
Decision Time For the following scenarios decide which view you would use to cast your vote and why? One of the first bills you must vote upon decriminalizes marijuana. You know a vast majority of your constituents oppose this. Personally, you believe that current laws are useless. They cost a lot to enforce and they do nothing to reduce marijuana usage. You believe that marijuana use should be legalized and law enforcement should concentrate on more important crime problems. The voters of your district would like to spend money on developing a park in your area. You have introduced a bill to do that. However, to get your bill passed you will have to make deals with other legislators. One key legislator is Representative Jones. He tells you that he will make sure that your bill is passed if you vote for his bill. His bill makes a drastic cut in welfare payments. About 1 person in 5 in your district receives some form of welfare. About 50% of the people favor the park. Would you accept the deal in order to get the park? Design your own scenario and answer it….