You might want to pass this along ..... some might not know how congress works.... which is rare anyway!!!
GOVERNMENT 101: How a Bill Becomes Law
Legislation is Introduced - Any member can introduce a piece of legislation
House - Legislation is handed to the clerk of the House or placed in the hopper.
Senate - Members must gain recognition of the presiding officer to announce the introduction of a bill during the morning hour. If any senator objects, the introduction of the bill is postponed until the next day.
- The bill is assigned a number. (e.g. HR 1 or S 1)
- The bill is labeled with the sponsor's name.
- The bill is sent to the Government Printing Office (GPO) and copies are made.
- Senate bills can be jointly sponsored.
- Members can cosponsor the piece of Legislation.
Committee Action - The bill is referred to the appropriate committee by the Speaker of the House or the presiding officer in the Senate. Most often, the actual referral decision is made by the House or Senate parliamentarian. Bills may be referred to more than one committee and it may be split so that parts are sent to different committees. The Speaker of the House may set time limits on committees. Bills are placed on the calendar of the committee to which they have been assigned. Failure to act on a bill is equivalent to killing it. Bills in the House can only be released from committee without a proper committee vote by a discharge petition signed by a majority of the House membership (218 members).
- Comments about the bill's merit are requested by government agencies.
- Bill can be assigned to subcommittee by Chairman.
- Hearings may be hel
Title: To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit certain conduct relating to the use of horses for human consumption.
Sponsor: Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] (introduced 1/14/2009) Cosponsors (113)
Latest Major Action: 3/16/2009 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
The U.S. Congress has two chambers: the House (435 members) and the Senate (100 members). A regular bill becomes a law in the following way.
One or more elected officials introduce the bill. The person that orginally introduces the bill is called the sponsor. The bill can be introduced simultaneously in both chambers, or it can be introduced only in one chamber.
Once a bill is introduced, any member of the chamber where the bill was introduced can co-sponsor the bill. This basically means they sign on to the bill, voicing their support – and their constituents’ support – for passing this legislation. The more co-sponsors a bill has, the more support it has, and the faster it should move through the legislative process. That’s why it’s often important for you and your friends to advocate for your elected officials to co-sponsor key pieces of legislation.
The bill is assigned to the appropriate committee Because Congress has so many bills to consider, each chamber is divided into 20-25 committees, which cover everything from the Judiciary to Veterans’ Affairs, that consider relevant legislation according to the following process. The committees that we care about is HR 1018 - Mr. RAHALL (for himself and Mr. GRIJAL(VA) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.
The chair of the subcommittee schedules the bill for a hearing and a vote. members of the subcommittee can help speed up this process by urging the chair to bring the bill to a vote. Once the bill passes the subcommittee by majority vote, it then moves on to full committee. So it’s important for us to lobby subcommittee members at this stage of the game.
The same process happens in full committee - this is why we lobby the committee chair and committee members at this point.
The bill then moves to the floor for a full vote. The Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate schedule a bill for a vote. The Majority and Minority Whips inform the members of their party when the vote is taking place and rally up party votes for or against a bill. The bill must pass by majority vote.
The same process must happen in the other chamber, if it hasn’t yet.
Two different versions of the bill may pass in each chamber. If this is the case, a conference committee meets to resolve differences. This committee usually includes members of the original committee that considered the bill in each chamber. It is usually chaired by one of the committee chairs. The conference version of the bill that this committee writes must then pass by majority vote in each chamber.
The bill then moves to the President, who must sign the bill into law. It’s up to us to hold our elected officials accountable and make sure that all passed legislation is also enforced.
A vital part of the legislative process, both in the US Congress and in the state legislatures, is the committee system. When a bill is introduced in a legislature, it is referred to a committee of that house, where the members of that committee and of sub-committees working under it will consider the bill and what action to take on it. The names of the committees indicate the sort of legislation that each committee deals with; Agriculture, Judiciary, Armed Services, and Appropriations are examples. Each committee will hold public hearings on a bill that has been referred to it, will consider amendments to the bill, and ultimately will decide whether to recommend to the House (or Senate) that members vote Yes or No on the bill or, the committee may be able to stall action on the bill and "pigeonhole" it. The House and Senate will follow the recommendations of their committees in a very large percentage of the votes on bills. No one member of Congress can be thoroughly acquainted with all the details of every bill that he/she votes upon, and he/she will rely upon recommendations made by the committees most of the time. He/she will spend a high proportion of his/her working hours on committee business. Each house of Congress must have a majority of members present to conduct official business; this is called a quorum. Seldom will a majority of members actually be on the floor of the House or Senate, but when a vote is to be taken or an important debate occurs, then a majority will be on the floor of the House or Senate, but when a vote is to be taken or an important debate occurs, then a majority will be on the floor. When a bill is being voted upon in either house of Congress, a majority of Yes votes out of all the votes being cast is required to pass the bill. The bill must be passed in identical form by a majority in each house, and then it is sent to the President. If he signs the bill, it will become a law. If he exercises his right to veto the bill, he will refuse to sign it, give his reasons, and send it back to the house in which it was first introduced. Congress has the power to override a Presidential veto if they can muster a 2/3 vote in each house, but this is extremely hard to do. If the President neither signs nor vetoes the bill within 10 days after he receives it, one of two things will happen, depending upon whether Congress is still in session at the end of the 10 days after the President received the bill. If Congress is still in session, the bill will become a law without the President's signature. If Congress had adjourned during the 10 days, the bill will not become a law. This latter situation is nicknamed the "pocket veto", because the President figuratively speaking puts the bill in his pocket and ignores it. The theory behind the pocket veto possibility is that the President should always have 10 days to decide whether to sign a bill or not, and if Congress has adjourned before the 10 days are up, it means the President is unable to send the bill back to Congress with a formal veto.