Committee System Standing Committees o Important policy-making bodies o Existing from Congress to Congress o Paralleling executive agencies Foreign Affairs Committee - State Department Intelligence Committee – CIA & others o Having power to report legislation Organization of Congress
1. Standing committee 2. Conference committee Four types of committees:
Conference Committee o Temporary o Members appointed by Speaker & Senate presiding officer o For reconciling any differences on legislation once it has been passed by House & Senate The Committee System
1. Standing committee 2. Conference committee 3. Joint committee 4. Select committee Four types of committees:
Select Committee o Temporary committees o No power to report legislation o Set up to handle specific issues that fall btwn the jurisdiction of existing committees A special committee for investigating the Watergate scandal (1973) Organization of Congress
Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities
How a Bill Becomes Law Some facts: For a bill to become law, there are many routine hurdles It is easier for opponents to kill a bill than to pass it The law-making process is highly political
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 1. Introducing legislation Who can introduce legislative proposals? Members of Congress Executive branch Interest groups Constituents
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 2. Assignment to Committee Bill referred to a committee Most bills assigned to the appropriate committees Complex bills referred to several committees Controversial bills are sometimes handled by temporary or ad hoc committees set up for that purpose
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 2. Assignment to Committee Often, nothing happens to the bills in committee. Neglect leads to death of many bills Bills to be acted on are often referred to the appropriate sub- committees.
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 3. Hearing Once the sub-committee or full committee decides to act, hearings are held participated by: Executive agency representatives Academia Interest groups Other interested persons In a typical two-year Congress Senate: 1200 hearings House: 2300 hearings
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 4. Reporting a Bill When a sub-committee decides to act on a bill, it drafts it line by line It reports it to the full committee The full committee accepts, rejects or amends the bill.
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 5. Schedule Debate When a committee agrees to submit a bill to the two houses, it is put on the House & Senate calendar, a list bills for action Each house has different calendars for different bills In House, non-controversial bills are put on the Consent Calendar or Private Calendar to be passed without debate
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 5. Schedule Debate Each house has different calendars for different bills Controversial or important bills are placed on the Union Calendar or house Calendar. Rules & procedures (length of debate) are requested from the Rules Committee. Define the following: filibuster, cloture, open rule, closed rule.
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 6. Debate & Amendment Opponents & proponents have equal debate time Relevant amendments, if allowed, can be added Floor debate seldom change views of others In Senate, debate can last long time In Senate, filibuster can be used Senators can propose amendments irrelevant to the bill.
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 7. The Vote How do members vote? What impact their voting behavior? Personal views Opinions of the constituents Advice of knowledgeable & trusted colleagues Occasionally, President can win over wavering members of their Party to stick with the team or by cutting deals with pivotal members. It is important for members to cast an explainable vote, one that is defendable in public when challenged.
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 7. The Vote How do members vote? What impact their voting behavior? It is important for members to cast an explainable vote, one that is defendable in public when challenged. Not every vote has to please the constituents. But, too many “bad” votes are costly and show distance with one’s folks at home.
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 8. In Conference Committee Once passed, a bill is sent to the other chamber for consideration If the 2nd chamber passes the bill, it is then sent to the White House for action. But, controversial bills need to go to a Conference Committee to reconcile the differences in the two versions of the bills After Conference, details of the bill are reported back to each chamber before sending to the President.
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 7. To the President Approve the bill into law Ignore it, with the result it becomes law in 10 days (not including weekend & when Congress is still in session) Veto it (& facing override in Congress) Pocket veto it (if Congress adjourns before the 10 days are up) When President vetoes a bill, he usually explains why he does so.
How a Bill Becomes Law The Law-making Steps 7. Congressional Override of Veto A two-thirds majority is required in each chamber to override the Presidential veto
Terms for comic: (not in correct order) House Rules Committee Whips Mark Up Standing Committee Subcommittee House Floor (Full House) Conference Committee