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Ch. 5 - How a Bill Becomes a Law


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Ch. 5 - How a Bill Becomes a Law

  1. 1. How a Bill Becomes a Law• I’m just a bill…(video)
  2. 2. Bill v. Law• What is the difference between a bill and a law?• A law is a bill or an act passed by a legislative body. – A BILL must be signed into LAW by the President
  3. 3. Types of Bills• public bill – proposed legislative bill that deals with matters of general concern and application• private bill – a proposed legislative bill that deals with specific personal or local matters rather than general affairs• appropriation bill – legislative motion authorizing the government to spend money
  4. 4. “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”• Briefly describe Mr. Smith’s bill i.e. what does he want to do?• What type of bill is Senator’s Smith’s bill (public, private, appropriations, or combination)?• Does Miss Saunders, the legislative assistant, think this bill will become a law? Why or why not?
  5. 5. Delegate or Trustee??• delegate – duty to represent “the folks back home” and vote based on the will of their constituents• trustee – duty to vote according to their own conscience and view of what is best for the district, state or nation as a whole. Which should members be first? Delegates or trustees?
  6. 6. How a BILL becomes a LAW
  7. 7. How our laws are made
  8. 8. Law Making• Only a member of the House or Senate may introduce a bill but anyone can write a bill.• A bill must survive three stages to become a law: committees, the floor, and the conference committee.• A bill can die at any stage.Fact: About 5,000 bills are introduced in Congress every year, but only about 150 are signed into law!!!
  9. 9. Navigating the Legislative Obstacle Course
  10. 10. Once it is written...• A bill may begin in either house o BUT...bills of revenue must begin in the House of Representatives.
  11. 11. Step 1: An Idea for a Bill Sources:
  12. 12. Step 2: Writing & Introduction of BillHouse: Senate:• Bill dropped in hopper • Bill formerly read aloud on floor• Referred to committee by • Bill then given to clerk the Speaker • Referred to committee by Steering Committee Sen. Smith introduces bill on the Senate floor ~ Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  13. 13. Step 3: Committee Action• House & Senate committees conduct public hearings• Experts testify• Markup of bills• Committee vote: report favorably, unfavorably, or table bill House Armed Services Committee
  14. 14. Making the Vote
  15. 15. Step 4: Floor Action - Senate• Party leaders schedule bills for floor debate on the calendar• Unlimited debate• Filibuster - member(s) keep talking to block debate on a bill• Cloture vote by 3/5 of Senators (60) can end filibuster• Floor vote: Roll Call, Standing, Voice Senator Strum Thurman still holds the record for the longest filibuster - 24 hrs 18 min. on the 1957 Civil Rights Act
  16. 16. Step 5: Approved Bill Crosses Over to Other House• Approved bill must pass each chamber by a simple majority
  17. 17. Step 6: Conference Committee• Members from each chamber meet to reconcile differences in the two bills Senate-House Conference Committee works out details of the 2003 Healthy Forest Restoration Act
  18. 18. Step 7: Both Chambers Vote on Final Version of the Bill
  19. 19. Step 8: President Considers BillPresident can:1. sign the bill into law2. veto bill3. pocket veto ? Line Item Veto? Note: Congress can override veto with 2/3 vote in each house; only 4% of vetoes have been overridden *Pocket Veto-President can ignore the 10 day bill signing period if Congress adjourns prior to the 10 days. The bill is then dead.
  20. 20. Political Cartoon Wrap Up!• Describe what’s going on in the political cartoon (Who? What? When? Where?).• Identify any symbols (ex: an elephant to represent the Republican Party) portrayed in the cartoon and analyze what they represent.• What is the artist’s message in the cartoon? What do you think is its purpose?• Do you agree or disagree with the cartoonists message? Explain your answer.• What does this cartoon show us about Congress in general and the legislative process in particular?
  21. 21. Explain why so few bills become law.Fact: About 5,000 bills are introduced in Congress every year, but only about 150 are signed into law.