OUR BILL WILL BE INTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Most bills can be introduced in EITHER the House or the Senate.
The only exception are revenue bills, which MUST begin in the House of Representatives.
TYPES OF BILLS
Public Bills--apply to the entire nation
Private Bills--apply to specific areas or a specific group of people
Joint Resolution- carries the force of law, used to propose Constitutional amendments
A BILL IS INTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE BY DROPPING IT INTO THE “ HOPPER ” .
After the bill is placed in the hopper, it is numbered, read & referred to committee by the Speaker of the House.
HOW THE SPEAKER CAN “ MESS ” WITH A BILL
Multiple Referrals--sending a bill to multiple committees
Simultaneous referral--several committees get the bill at the same time
Sequential referral--sending the bill to one committee, then another, then another, etc.
Good way to kill a bill!!!!!
COMMITTEES Where the ACTION is!!!
This is where bills are really studied & worked on.
Committees hold hearings to gather information about a bill.
All committees are chaired by a member of the majority party.
The majority party has more members on each committee.
The chairperson decides when the committee will meet & sets the agenda for the committee--decides which bills will be discussed.
Pass the bill as is.
Amend the bill--it must go through “mark up” if this happens.
Kill the bill.
Rewrite the bill--it goes to the floor as a “committee” bill.
Recommend the bill unfavorably.
Pigeonhole the bill--this means that it sits in a pile & the committee never gets to it.
You use a “ discharge petition ” to get your bill out of committee if it’s been pigeonholed . This forces the committee to take action on the bill & move it on to the next stage. You must have a majority of members’ signatures to get a discharge petition. Discharge petitions can be used in the House ONLY!!!
This is the next step in the House of Representatives.
This is a VERY powerful committee because ALL bills go through this committee and it decides which bills go on to the floor for debate.
The majority party has a 2 to 1 majority on this committee.
RULES COMMITTEE OPTIONS
Open Rule--this means that the bill can be amended on the floor during debate.
Closed Rule- no amendments will be allowed during floor debate--it must be passed or killed as is.
No Rule- the bill is dead without a rule of debate.
IF a bill is given a Rule of Debate by the Rules Committee, it is placed on a Calendar .
The Calendar is the order that bills
will come up on the floor for debate.
-Bills are placed on the Calendar, it’s not first-come, first-served.
This gives all of the members of the House a chance to debate the bill.
There must be at least 218 members present. This is a quorum.
A bill gets its 2nd reading, then the floor is open for debate.
When debate is concluded, the bill is read for a 3rd time.
Each member may speak for up to 1 hour.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTES
If it isn’t a controversial bill, they will use a “ voice vote ”.
If it could be a close vote, the House will use a “ roll- call vote ”. This is computerized.
THE NEXT STEP
If the bill passes, it goes to the Senate.
If the bill does not receive a majority of votes--at least 218--it’s dead!! The bill must be reintroduced & start the process all over :(
The bill is referred to committee so that members of the Senate can now study the bill.
The committee in the Senate has the same options as the committee in the House. They can kill it, pass it, rewrite it, amend it or recommend it unfavorably.
If the bill passes the committee with a majority vote, it goes directly to the floor of the Senate.
The Senate does not have the Rules Committee like the House.
Floor debate in the Senate is similar to floor debate in the House.
The bill gets its 2nd reading, is debated, gets its 3rd reading and is voted on.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOUSE & SENATE FLOOR DEBATE
Amendments do not have to be related to the bill.
In the Senate, there is no time limit, so Senators can filibuster.
This means that you can “talk a bill to death”. Once you have been given permission to speak, you can talk about anything.
As long as someone is talking, no business can take place.
The filibuster is used by the minority party to get the majority party to compromise.
The Democrats are currently filibustering Pres. Bush’s nominees to federal courts.
A filibuster can be ended by invoking cloture.
It takes 60 votes to invoke cloture, so it is VERY difficult to end a filibuster.
THE VOTE IN THE SENATE
Senators also vote with a voice vote or a roll call vote.
The difference between the Senate & the House is the Senate’s roll call vote is not computerized. The Secretary of the Senate calls each Senator’s name--twice.
If the bill is passed, in the exact same form as passed by the House, the bill goes to the President.
If the Senate makes a small change in the bill, it goes back to the floor of the House. If the House approves the change, THEN it goes to the President.
If the House doesn’t approve the bill, it is dead
If the Senate makes significant changes in the bill, it is sent to a Conference Committee. This committee has members of the House & Senate on it. They meet & come up with a compromise bill.
The compromise bill is then sent to the floor of the House & the floor of the Senate.
If BOTH chambers approve, the bill goes to the President.
If one or both vote the bill down, it’s dead!!
TO THE PRESIDENT!!!!
Once the President receives the bill, he has 10 days to take action on the bill.
PRESIDENT ’ S OPTIONS
He can sign the bill into law.
He can veto the bill & it goes back to Congress. They can override his veto with a 2/3 vote.
He can allow it to become a law without his signature
He can do nothing, if Congress is NOT in session , and the bill is dead.