How a Bill Becomes a Law


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Lecture for Washington D.C. study tour

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How a Bill Becomes a Law

  1. 1. How a Bill Becomes a LawHACE 4900 WASHINGTON D.C. SUMMER TOUR
  2. 2. School House Rock, Rocks! HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  3. 3. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN Take one of these out!!Plan on writing a great deal today…………..write legibly!
  4. 4. The Process through the Houseof Representatives1. Somebody thinks of a good, well thought out idea for a piece of legislation…Anyone can help to write legislation. Only a HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN member of Congress can actually propose legislation in Congress.Do #1: Write this on your piece of paper
  5. 5. The Process through the House of Representatives2. Get co-sponsors…Bills can have many cosponsors or just a few but they can be an important way to signal support HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANOn your paper, list who/groups would help you sponsor your idea.
  6. 6. The Process through the House of Representatives3. Drop the bill in the Hopper. The hopper is a box on the clerk’s desk HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN into which all proposed legislation must go.
  7. 7. Two other types of hoppers… HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  8. 8. The Process through the House of Representatives4. Bill assigned a number and sent to the government printing office. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN Examples: HR 1 or S 42
  9. 9. The Process through the House of Representatives5. Speaker refers the bill to the appropriate committee(s). HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN Sometimes a bill can be referred to several committees because it does not fit in just one area.
  10. 10. House Committee Room • To which committee would your issue be assigned? HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN • Put your response on your paper.
  11. 11. Home Work….• You are to find out to which committee/committees your representative belongs. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN• Word process this on a piece of paper with your name and class ID# and bring to class on Tuesday…
  12. 12. The Process through the House of Representatives 6. Bill assigned to a subcommittee. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  13. 13. The Process through the House of Representatives7. Hearings may be held. Frequently hearings are held to gain HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN expert opinions on a topic.On your paper: Who might you want to ask to speak to the committee as an expert on your issue?
  14. 14. The Process through the House of Representatives8. Subcommittee reports its findings to the full committee. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  15. 15. The Process through the House of Representatives9. The full committee holds a mark-up session and makes amendments and changes to the bill. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  16. 16. The Process through the House of Representatives10. Committee staff writes report on why the committee favors the bill. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN The Office of the Clerk writes the report.
  17. 17. The Process through the House of Representatives11. Those dissenting may write a dissenting opinion on why the bill should not have been passed out of committee. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  18. 18. The Process through the House of Representatives12.The bill goes to the Rules Committee to decide on time limits for the debate. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  19. 19. The Process through the House of Representatives13. Bill gets placed on the House calendar by the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANOn your paper….who is the current Speaker of the House?
  20. 20. The Process through the House of Representatives14. Bill debated on the House floor. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN Many times few Congressmen are present unless it is a controversial bill.On your paper: Will your issue/bill be controversial? Yes, or no? Why?
  21. 21. •HRES 1247 EH• (1) supports the goals and ideals of ‘‘American Eagle Day’’; and• (2) encourages—• (A) educational entities, organizations, businesses, HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN conservation groups, and government agencies with a shared interest in conserving endangered species to collaborate on education information for use in schools; and• (B) the people of the United States to observe American Eagle Day with appropriate ceremonies and other activities.• Attest:• Clerk.
  22. 22. The Process through the House of Representatives15. Only “germane” amendments may be added to the bill. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN Germane: Not the same as relevant… a germane amendment cannot change the nature of the bill.
  23. 23. Which of these changes to this girl’s hair stylewas germane and which was not? Pink hair color Pink headband HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  24. 24. The Process through the House of Representatives16. Quorum call to make sure there are enough members present to vote. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN Can be a way to stall for time if you don’t have enough members present to vote.
  25. 25. A quorum• is the minimum number of members of a deliberating body necessary to conduct the business of that group. Ordinarily, this HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN is a majority of the people expected to be there.• On paper….how many people would be necessary to have a quorum in the Senate?
  26. 26. Quorum Busting• A prominent example of quorum-busting occurred in 2003, when the Texas House of Representatives voting on a redistricting bill that would have favored the Republicans in the state. The Democrats, certain of HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN defeat chose not to be present in the House that day, but instead took a plane to Oklahoma preventing the bill from passing due to a lack of a quorum. If there is no quorum present a call of the house could be ordered, which would cause absent members to be arrested and brought to the floor of the body. This was the reason that the Killer D’s fled to Oklahoma, which is outside of the jurisdiction of Texas law. The Killer Ds effectively killed the legislation by staying in Oklahoma long enough to let the legislation expire.
  27. 27. The Process through the House of Representatives 17. Vote on the bill! How do members know when it is time to vote? • Blackberries • Clocks HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN How do they vote? • Use clicker cards the size of a credit card. • Slide it though the yes or no slot. • Projected on the screen.
  28. 28. What happens in theSenate?
  29. 29. The Process through the Senate1. Member must be recognized by the presiding officer and introduce a bill during the “morning hour”. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANMorning hour is the first two hours of the day’s session
  30. 30. The Process through the Senate2. If another member objects then the introduction of the bill is postponed until the next day. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  31. 31. A day by any other name…• Calendar “day” is an actual 24 hour day.• Legislative “day” is from one legislative adjournment to another adjournment. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN• This could be weeks long.• Recesses are NOT adjournments.
  32. 32. The Process through the Senate3. The bill is assigned a number. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  33. 33. The Process through the Senate4. Bill can be jointly sponsored by other Senators. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANOn your paper….what advantages are there to jointly sponsoring bills?
  34. 34. The Process through the Senate5. The presiding officer refers the bill to the appropriate committee(s). HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  35. 35. Senate Committee Room • On your paper…..Which committee would your issue be submitted to? HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  36. 36. The Process through the Senate6. Bill may be assigned to a subcommittee. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  37. 37. The Process through the Senate7. Hearings may be held. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  38. 38. The Process through the Senate8. Subcommittee reports its findings to the full committee. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  39. 39. The Process through the Senate9. Committee holds a “mark-up” session and makes amendments and changes to the bill. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  40. 40. The Process through the Senate10. Committee staff writes report on why committee favors bill. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  41. 41. The Process through the Senate11. Bill is places on the Legislative Calendar by the Majority Leader. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  42. 42. The Process through the Senate12.Debate is unlimited HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANOn your paper…..How is this particular component of the Senate process different from the House process?
  43. 43. filibuster -• Informal term for any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions.
  44. 44. The Process through the Senate13.Amendments do not have to be germane. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANRemind me again….what is germane?
  45. 45. The Process through the Senate14.Bill is voted on. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANRecord of voting: l_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congr ess=107&session=1&vote=00237
  46. 46. Conference Committee1. Members from each house form a conference committee. To work out the differences between the House and HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN Senate bills.Only about 10% of bills go through conference committee
  47. 47. Conference Committee2. If they reach a compromise they prepare a written report to be submitted to both the House and Senate. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANNo new amendments can be added at this point.
  48. 48. The President • Can Veto or Sign the Bill If he signs…. It becomes law! HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN If he vetoes…. It goes back to Congress and it takes a 2/3 majority of both houses to override. Historical Vetoes
  49. 49. HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  50. 50. Differences Between the House and the Senate • Introduction of the Bill • Debate allowed • Amendments allowed HACE 4900 DR. MOORMANHouse Majority RuleSenate Individual Rights
  51. 51. What happens AFTERa bill becomes a law? The Continuous Cycle of Public Policy
  52. 52. Types of Policies • Regulatory: Rules and standards that control economic, social and political activities HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN • FAA, EPA, HUD, FCC • Reasons for Regulation: Natural Monopoly, Externalities, Protecting the Uninformed
  53. 53. Types of Policies• Social: Programs designed to help those thought to be in need of government assistance HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN • HUD, Social Security, etc.• Fiscal Policy: Taxing and Spending
  54. 54. Regulatory Agencies• Must have legislative authority to operate• Varying Scope of Authority• Organizational Structure HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN • Department Regulatory Agency • FDA is within Health and Human Services Department • Independent Regulatory Commission • CPSC, Federal Reserve, FCC, SEC
  55. 55. Time to Execute the Law:The Policy Process Deliberation Enactment HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN Agenda Implementation Setting Outcome Output
  56. 56. Implementation• How do we enforce a law? • What does the law say? • What is feasible? HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN • What is fair? • What can we afford to do?
  57. 57. Your issue…..on your paper • What would your law say? • Would it be feasible? • Meaning would it have a chance at HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN being successful. • Would it be fair? • What can we afford to do?
  58. 58. Implementation• The translation of legislation into a set of government programs or regulations• Legislation goes to the appropriate agency HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN for its implementation• Vague language allows agency discretion
  59. 59. Policy Outputs• The provision of services to citizens or regulation of their conduct.• Examples HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN • TANF checks • Car Emissions Standards • HUD Code Homes
  60. 60. Policy Outcomes• Effect of policy outputs on individuals and businesses.• Examples: HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN • Minimum Wage Laws • Fair Tax PlanAgenda-Setting  Deliberation  New Policies Enacted
  61. 61. Your issue again….on paper• What would be the effect of policy outputs on individuals and businesses? HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN
  62. 62. Congressional Oversight• Review and Monitoring of Federal Agencies• Hold hearings HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN • Typically done through the Committee system • For Example: Committee on Agriculture would have oversight of the USDA
  63. 63. What happens when oversightis lax? • Securities and Exchange Commission… admitted that it had HACE 4900 DR. MOORMAN credible allegations of wrongdoing at Bernie Madoff’s investment firm starting in the 1990s and continuing for years and years that were never investigated properly.