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Chapter Six_ Section Four

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					    Chapter Six:
    Congress
      Section Four:

How a Bill Becomes a
        Law
      Guide to Reading
• Main Idea                   Key Terms
   – Several complex             – joint resolution
     steps are involved in
     taking an idea and          – special-interest
     turning it into a law.        group
• Read to Learn                  – rider
   – How are bills
     introduced and how          – filibuster
     do they work their          – cloture
     way through
     Congress?                   – voice vote
   – What actions can a          – roll-call vote
     president take once         – veto
     a bill has been
     passed by Congress?         – pocket veto
       Did You Know?
• The House and Senate chambers are housed
  in the United States Capitol. This stately
  building sits on Capitol Hill near the center of
  Washington, D.C. The Capitol’s 540 rooms
  contain art depicting important events and
  people in United States history. As a citizen,
  you can visit the Capitol and enjoy its beauty.
  With a pass from your senator or
  representative, you can even attend a session
  of Congress and watch your lawmakers in
  action.
     Types of Bills
•Of the more than
 10,000 bills
 introduced each
 congressional term,
 only several hundred
 become law.
      Types of Bills
• Bills fall into two
  categories.
 –Private bills concern
  individual people or places.
 –Public bills apply to the
  entire nation and involve
  general matters like
  taxation, civil rights, or
      Types of Bills
• Congress also considers
  different kinds of resolutions,
  or formal statements
  expressing lawmakers’ opinions
  or decisions.
 – Many resolutions do not have the
   force of law.
 – Joint resolutions are passed by
   both houses of Congress and do
   become law if signed by the
 Discussion Question
• Why might public bills
  take months to debate?
• Describe some ways in
  which Congress might
  use joint resolutions.
   From Bill to Law
• Ideas for bills come from
  members of Congress,
  citizens, and the White
  House.
 –Other bills are suggested by
  special-interest groups, or
  organizations of people with
  some common interest who
  try to influence government
  decisions.
   From Bill to Law
• Only senators and
  representatives may
  introduce bills in
  Congress.
 –Every bill is given a title
  and number, and is then
  sent to an appropriate
  standing committee.
   From Bill to Law
• The committee chairperson
  decides which bills get
  ignored and which get
  studied.
 –Those that merit attention are
  often researched by a
  subcommittee.
 –Experts and citizens may
  voice opinions about a bill in
     From Bill to Law
• Standing committees can:
  – Pass the bill without change.
  – Mark changes and suggest that the
    bill be passed.
  – Replace the bill with an alternative.
  – Pigeonhole the bill (ignore it and let it
    die)
  – Kill the bill by majority vote.
• When a committee is against a bill,
  it almost never becomes a law.
    From Bill to Law
• Bills approved in committee are
  put on the schedule to be
  considered by the full House or
  Senate.
 – The Senate usually takes up bills
   in the order listed.
 – In the House, the Rules
   Committee can give priority to
   some bills and not let others get
   to the floor.
    From Bill to Law
• When bills reach the floor,
  members debate the pros
  and cons.
 –The House accepts only
  relevant amendments.
 –The Senate allows riders—
  completely unrelated
  amendments—to be tacked
  onto the bill.
    From Bill to Law
• The House Rules Committee
  puts time limits on the
  discussion.
• Senators may speak as long as
  they like and need not even
  address the topic at hand.
 – Sometimes they filibuster, or talk
   a bill to death.
   • A three-fifths vote for cloture can
     end a filibuster.
   From Bill to Law
• In a simple voice vote,
  those in favor say “Yea”
  and those against say
  “No.”
• In a standing vote, those
  in favor stand to be
  counted, and then those
   From Bill to Law
• The House uses a
  computerized voting
  system that records
  each representative’s
  vote.
 –Senators voice their
  votes in turn as an
  official records them in a
   From Bill to Law
• A simple majority of
  members present
  passes a bill.
 –After passing one house,
  the bill then goes to the
  other.
 –If either house rejects
  the bill, it dies.
   From Bill to Law
• Both houses must pass an
  identical bill.
 –If either changes the bill it
  receives from the other
  house, a conference
  committee is formed to work
  out the differences.
   • The House and Senate must
     then either accept the revised
     bill as is or completely reject it.
    From Bill to Law
• After a bill passes both houses, it
  goes to the president.
  – The president may sign it into law,
    veto (or refuse to sign) it, or do
    nothing for 10 days.
    • Then if Congress is in session, the bill
      becomes law without the president’s
      signature.
    • If Congress had adjourned, the bill dies.
      – Killing a bill this way is called a pocket veto.
  – Congress can override a veto with a
    two-thirds vote of each house.
 Discussion Question
• What happens when a
  bill is pigeonholed?
• How does a filibuster
  work?
Section 4 Assessment
1. What is the difference between public
   and private bills? What are
   resolutions?
2. Describe what can happen to a bill
   once it passes Congress and reaches
   the president’s desk.
3. Why do you think members of the
   House of Representatives consider
   assignment to the Rules Committee
   an important appointment?
Graphic Organizer
 Write all the points in the lawmaking process
   at which a bill can be stopped or killed.
 Journal Assignment
•Do you think
 democracy would be
 helpful or hindered if
 passing laws were an
 easier process?
Remember…
 there will be
 a quiz at the
beginning of our
  next class!

				
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