Procedures of the United States Congress - Wikipedia
Aug 7, Private bills are designed to affect or benefit specific individuals or groups of . but to date, the full Senate has not voted its approval or disapproval. if agreed to, requires that the committee report the bill back to the Senate. First, a bill must pass both houses of Congress by a majority vote. This is called "overriding a veto," and is difficult to do because of the two-thirds majority requirement. Most will, then, fall into a specific sub-committee's area of responsibility. the bill is placed on the calendar for review by the entire Senate at a later date. Requires DOD to notify Congress of all Bay, Cuba, as of the date of the enactment of this bill.
In addition, bills might be brought to a member by a constituent or by a group of constituents; a bill can be submitted to a member of Congress by one or more state legislatures; or the President or his administration might suggest a bill.
However it is brought to the attention of a member, it must be submitted for consideration by the member. In the House, Representatives need merely drop a copy of a bill into a bin specifically placed to receive new bills.
In the Senate, the bill is given to a clerk at the President's desk. Bills can be introduced in either house, though as noted above, a bill must eventually pass both houses to become law. The exception to this is that bills for raising revenue must originate in the House, and never in the Senate. Committees Both houses of Congress, the House and the Senate, are divided into large groups called Committees, with most committees divided yet again into Subcommittees. Each Committee tends to a general topic in the nation's business, like Finance or the Military.
Subcommittees are even more specialized, with one on, for example, Military Nuclear Weapons, and another on Military Pay.
Bills typically concern a specific topic, like raising the pay of soldiers. Most will, then, fall into a specific sub-committee's area of responsibility.
House Committee Passes Bill Requiring Congressional Authorization For Certain Changes At Dams
There is a Subcommittee on Pay, Promotion, and Retirement that would consider the pay bill. Once a bill is introduced, it is assigned to a committee. A bill is scheduled to have hearings, at which time witnesses may be called to testify as to why a bill is needed, and sub-committee members ask questions of the witnesses to determine the need or validity of the bill. Once the hearings are held, the members of the subcommittee will then vote on the bill to see if it should proceed further, on to the full committee.
If the vote fails, then the bill dies.
Some bills are broad enough to warrant direct consideration by the full committee itself. These types of bills, and bills that are referred to the full committee by a subcommittee, are debated in the committee, which might call witnesses, too. Finally, a vote on the bill is taken at the committee level. If the bill is defeated in the committee vote, it dies.
If it passes, a committee report is attached to the bill and it is sent to the full house. House Procedure In the House, a bill approved by a committee is referred to the whole House.
Most are then referred to the so-called Committee of the Whole, which consists of all members of the House, but with a much lower quorum requirement. Once in the Committee of the Whole, it is read and debated upon. During this general debate, time is allotted for debate, with equal amounts of that time given to the two main parties in the House. When the time for debate is up, a second reading is done.
Congress is debating a bill requiring certain employers provide worker : Sentence Correction (SC)
After the second reading, amendments to the bill may be offered, debated upon, and voted upon. Once the Committee of the Whole is done with the bill, it is referred back to the full House. Note that a bill cannot be killed in the Committee of the Whole, although amendments may be placed on the bill that make it undesirable. This is often known as a "poison pill. Once in the hands of the full House, the amendments placed on the bill by the Committee of the Whole are voted upon - they can be voted upon en masse or one at a time.
After that, one of two votes can happen - either a vote to recommit which can send the bill back to committee if approvedor a vote on the bill, as amended. If a recommit vote fails, a full vote is taken. If a bill passes, it is organized and published. The House uses blue paper for approved bills.
Senate Procedure After a Senate committee refers a bill to the full Senate, it can take one of two main roads. In some cases, with emergency or other non-controversial bills, a simple voice vote is taken of the Senate, and the bill either passes or fails.
Amendment is possible even when the simple voice vote can be used. If consent for a voice vote is not available, the bill is placed on the calendar for review by the entire Senate at a later date.
When the bill's time comes up, objection can be noted. If no objection is noted, each Senator has five minutes to speak on the bill.
During this time, amendments may be offered. If objection was offered, then each Senator has the opportunity to speak on the bill for as long as he or she wishes. From time to time, a Senator may "filibuster" by speaking about a bill for an extended period of time, never yielding the floor to another Senator.
This is usually, at most, a delaying tactic, since a single member cannot speak for an indefinite amount of time. By combining forces with other Senators, however, it can be an effective tool for stopping action on an item, or for forcing compromise on an item. After all amendments are offered and voted upon, and all Senators who wish to talk have had a chance to, the bill is put forth for a vote. Conference Once a bill leaves the House and the Senate, it must be checked.
If anything in the two versions of the bill differ, in any way even in something as minor as punctuationthe bill must be reconciled. The house in which the bill originated is given a copy of the bill with its differences. For example, if the House originated a bill, then sent it along to the Senate for consideration, and the Senate made changes, the bill is sent back to the House.
If the changes are minor, they might be accepted by the originating house with no debate. If changes are of a more substantial nature, however, a conference is called for. In a conference, a number of Representative and a number of Senators meet to work out the differences in the two versions of the bill.
The people in the conference committee are known as managers. The number of managers from each house of Congress is of little concern, because the managers from each house vote separately. So, for example, a conference committee might have ten Representatives and seven Senators. Managers are not allowed to substantially change the bill.
They may add an amendment from one bill into the other, or take out an amendment added but not in the other. Ideas for legislation can come from many areas, including members, lobbyists, state legislatures, constituents, legislative counsel, an executive agency such as the president or cabinet officer or executive agency, and the usual next step is for the proposal to be passed to a committee for review. Bills are laws in the making. A House-originated bill begins with the letters "H.
In the House, it begins with "H. It's assigned a number by the Clerk. Then it's referred to a committee. The wording of the final statute is most likely different from this one.
Procedures of the United States Congress
The most important executive communication is usually the president's annual message which contains a lengthy budget proposal. Most legislative proposals are introduced as bills, but some are introduced as joint resolutions. There is little practical difference between the two, except that joint resolutions may include preambles but bills may not. Joint resolutions are the normal method used to propose a constitutional amendment or to declare war. On the other hand, concurrent resolutions passed by both houses and simple resolutions passed by only one house do not have the force of law.
Instead, they serve to express the opinion of Congress, or to regulate procedure.
In many cases, lobbyists write legislation and submit it to a member for introduction. Congressional lobbyists are legally required to be registered in a central database.
How bills become laws[ edit ] Bills may be introduced by any member of either house. However, the Constitution provides that: Furthermore, the House of Representatives holds that the Senate does not have the power to originate appropriation billsor bills authorizing the expenditure of federal funds.
Historically, the Senate has disputed the interpretation advocated by the House. However, whenever the Senate originates an appropriations bill, the House simply refuses to consider it, thereby settling the dispute in practice. Nevertheless, while the Senate cannot originate revenue and appropriation bills, it does retain the power to amend or reject them.
A congressional act in established procedures to try to establish appropriate annual spending levels. Each bill goes through several stages in each house. The first stage involves consideration by a committee which often seeks input from relevant departments as well as requests feedback from the Government Accountability Office. The House has twenty standing committees; the Senate has sixteen. Standing committees meet at least once each month.
If a bill is important, the committee may set a date for public hearings announced by the committee's chairman. Witnesses and experts can present their case for or against a bill. They may also amend the bill, but the full house holds the power to accept or reject committee amendments. After considering and debating a measure, the committee votes on whether it wishes to report the measure to the full house. Not reporting a bill or tabling it means it has been rejected.
If amendments to a bill are extensive, then sometimes a new bill with all the amendments built in will be written, sometimes known as a clean bill with a new number. If reported by the committee, the bill reaches the floor of the full house which considers it.
This can be simple or complex. A final vote on the bill follows. Once a bill is approved by one house, it is sent to the other, which may pass, reject, or amend it. For the bill to become law, both houses must agree to identical versions of the bill. President Ronald Reagan once quipped, "If an orange and an apple went into conference consultations, it might come out a pear.
There are a variety of means for members to vote on bills, including systems using lights and bells and electronic voting.