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How a Bill Becomes a Law (6.4)
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How a Bill Becomes a Law (6.4)


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General Overview of How a Bill Becomes a Law. Pay attention to all the places where a bill could die.

General Overview of How a Bill Becomes a Law. Pay attention to all the places where a bill could die.

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  • 1. For use with section 6.4
  • 2. 1. Standing Committees these are committees that continually exist because there is always some issue or bill for the members to deal with see chart on page 181
  • 3. 2. Select Committees when a bill or issue arises that is not covered by a standing committee, a special committee, called a select committee, is created temporarily
  • 4. 3. Joint Committees there are a few committees that are made up of members from both the Senate and the HOR these committees usually have investigative duties to find out information about important topic of national concern to help guide policy and law-making
  • 5. 4. Conference Committees consisting of members from both houses, these committees try to work out differences between House and Senate versions of bills
  • 6.  legislative branch makes laws
  • 7.  bill: • a proposal for a lawA. Introduction • most bills can begin in either the House of Representatives (HOR) or the Senate • all bills specifically dealing with money (money bills) must begin in the HOR • bills introduced into the HOR are dropped into a box called the hopper • bills introduced into the Senate are read aloud by the person introducing it
  • 8. 1. Assigned a Number • when the bill is introduced it is given a number • in the HOR it is assigned a number beginning with H.R. • in the Senate it is assigned a number beginning with S.2. Steering Committee • if the bill is important enough, the Steering Committee sends it to a standing committee or a select committee is specially created for this issue
  • 9.  “Committee Action” committees review bills before they are sent back to the “floor” for debate and vote1. can accept the bill as it is without making any changes2. can make changes to the bill • Riders: ONLY in the Senate; an amendment added to the bill that is unrelated to the topic of the bill3. may replace the bill with an alternative on the same subject
  • 10. 4. “Pigeonhole” • the committee can choose to ignore the bill altogether • this will cause the bill to “die”5. “kill bill” • the committee can decide that the bill is altogether no good and will reject it
  • 11.  “Floor Action”1. In the House of Representatives • the Rules Committee determines when the bill should be debated and sets the time limit for debate – each member’s time and the duration of the entire debate • the Speaker of the House monitors debate and the time limits • members will take turns giving their opinions favoring or opposing the bill
  • 12. 2. In the Senate • the Senate will usually debate the bills in numerical order • by default, Senators do not have a time limit on debate
  • 13. 2. In the Senate a. Filibuster  occurs when a single Senator or group of Senators agree to never stop speaking about the bill  the goal is to defeat the bill by having it withdrawn by the Senate  Longest Filibuster: Strom Thurmond, 24 hours, 18 minutes, attempting to block the Civil Rights Act of 1957 b. Cloture  this is a vote, usually before debate begins, to set a 1 hour limit for each Senator to speak  requires 60 votes  this is done to prevent a filibuster
  • 14. 1. Voice Vote • a general vote of “yea” and “nay” • it does not record each member’s vote2. Standing Vote • each member will stand up when called for “in favor”, “all opposed”, “abstentions” • each member’s vote is recorded
  • 15. 3. Roll-Call Vote • each member’s name is called and their vote is announced aloud a. computerized vote  computers have replaced many of these methods of voting in Congress  each member’s vote is recorded
  • 16.  each bill must be passed by both houses of Congress before the President sees it the entire process begins in the other house all over again
  • 17.  “Conference Action” the final version of the bill passed by both houses must be identical if the changes are made after it goes to the other house a conference committee meets to create a version that can be agreed upon by both houses
  • 18. 1. Approve • if the President thinks the bill is a “good bill for the nation” then he will sign it into law2. Disapprove (Veto) • if the President does not think the bill is “good” then he will send it back to Congress with suggestions for changes
  • 19. 2. Disapprove (Veto) a. Congressional Override  if Congress has overwhelming support for a vetoed bill, it can vote to over turn the President’s veto  this requires 2/3 vote of both houses3. Pocket Veto • if Congress submits a bill with less than 10 days remaining in the session, the President can veto a bill by not taking any action on it all – letting it sit • when this happens, the bill dies without ever being finally decided