Bill to law intro

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Basic description of the structure of Congress and how a bill becomes a law.

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Bill to law intro

  1. 1. How a Bill Becomes a Law An Introduction by the Book...
  2. 2. Key Questions 1. Why is it easier to defeat legislation than to pass it? 2. Why does it take so long for Congress to pass legislation? 3. What are the positive and negative effects of the lengthy legislative process?
  3. 3. Organization of the House • Speaker • Majority and Minority floor leaders • Majority and minority whips • members at large (231 vs 200) • foreigners! • 5 delegates, commissioner (R-VA) (D-CA)
  4. 4. Organization of the Senate • Senate Majority Leader • Senate Minority Leader • also have whips • 53, 45, 2 D-NV R-KY
  5. 5. Committees • job: prepare & examine legislation • standing committees (specific mission) • special and select committees • joint committees • influence of majority party on committees
  6. 6. Legislative Process Involves All Three Branches
  7. 7. What is a Bill? • It’s a proposed law in Congress • Technically, can be written by anyone • Every bill has a sponsor and sometimes co-sponsors • Multiple motivations behind the creation of bills • If Congress adjourns before a bill is passed...
  8. 8. 4 Types of Legislation • bill: proposed law • simple resolution: only affects the chamber passing the resolution; usually symbolic (can’t become a law) • concurrent resolution: express the ideas of both House and Senate on a non-legislative issue • joint resolution: just like a bill--unless it’s a proposal for a Constitutional amendment--the president must sign it to become law
  9. 9. Public vs Private Laws • private: target specific groups. For example, immigration, veteran’s issues, American Indians • public: impacts everyone. For example, taxation, smoking in public, healthcare
  10. 10. Omnibus Bill • large bill that packages together several subjects or programs into one bill • can combine diverse subjects into a bill • one vote covers all of the issues in the bill • often contains “pork barrel” projects
  11. 11. What is pork? What is an earmark? What is their role in a bill? • • • • aka riders or earmarks (subtle differences) added provisions to bills (can be $ or ideas) often funding for pet projects created to increase support by legislators, but it can also kill a bill • constituents have a divided view about pork
  12. 12. Look at your handout 10 days “pocket veto”
  13. 13. Schoolhouse Rock: How A bill becomes a law
  14. 14. Why do so few bills become laws? • design of the system: long, multi-step process • law makers must be willing to compromise • partisan politics • some laws are introduced with little to no chance of succeeding
  15. 15. You should be able to answer these questions. Talk to your neighbor. 1. Why is it easier to defeat legislation than to pass it? 2. Why does it take so long for Congress to pass legislation? 3. What are the positive and negative effects of the lengthy legislative process?

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