Let’s Review! • Summarize the qualifications for becoming a US House of Representatives member. • Summarize the qualifications for becoming a US Senate. • Summarize the three major jobs of Congress “at work”.
Let’s Preview! • What do we know about how a Bill becomes a Law? • Meet with your partner and Brainstorm to come up with 5 words that you think we will learn about in the process of how a federal bill becomes a law…….
Today’s Goal • Today, you will learn to describe the eight steps in the federal law making process (“how a bill becomes a law”). This is important because we are impacted by federal laws each day. • Using our 0-4 scale of understanding, how do you feel about your current knowledge of how a bill becomes a law? • Let’s get ready to learn!!!
Step 1 • Each “bill” starts out as an idea • These ideas can come from Congress, private citizensor from the White House (i.e. The President) • Special Interest Groups (groups of individuals who try to influence Congress) may also present ideas to Congress that may become bills. • National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) • Federal Assault Weapons Ban (idea came from the President and opposed by the NRA – did not pass (or become law)) • Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (signed by President Bush in 2005; supported by the NRA – is a Federal Law today.)
Step 2 • Every “bill” must start out and be introduced by a Congressman/ Senator – either a Senator or a House Member. • Every “bill” is given a title and number when it is introduced – H.R.1 or S.1
Step 3 • After it is introduced, each “bill” is then sent to the committeethat seems most qualified to handle it. • A bill about standardized testing would be sent to the Education Committees in the House and the Senate.
Step 4 • Committees receive hundreds of “bills” and they decide the lifeor deathof these bills • Those that the committee feels are valuable are then sent to a subcommitteeto be researched (public hearings may be held) • In a public hearing about standardized testing, the subcommittee would hear from principals, teachers, parents, etc.
Step 5 • The subcommittee will report back to the committeewho will decide if the “bill” should: • Passwithout changes • Have changesand be passed along • Be replaced with a new/better bill • Die– the bill is killed and has no chance of becoming a law that session of Congress.
Step 6 • If a “bill” is approved by the committee, then it is ready to be heard and voted on by the full House of Representatives or the full Senate. • When a bill reaches the floor of the House or Senate, the members argue their prosand cons • The Senate (only) can add riders (a completely unrelated item to the bill) • The Senate also allows filibusters(when a Senator tries to “talk a bill to death”) • A filibuster can only be stopped by a 3/5ths vote for cloture, meaning to end the filibuster and take a vote.
Longest Filibuster Ever… • U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond • The record for the longest filibuster goes to U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957, according to U.S. Senate records. • Thurmond began speaking at 8:54 p.m. on Aug. 28 and continued until 9:12 p.m. the following evening, reciting the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, President George Washington's farewell address and other historical documents along the way. • Thurmond was not the only lawmaker to filibuster on the issue, however. According to Senate records, teams of senators consumed 57 days filibustering between March 26 and June 19, the day the Civil Rights Act of 1957 passed.
Step 7 • The next step is for the members of the House of Representatives or the Senate to vote. • There are three different ways that a vote can be taken: • Voice Vote (Senate only) • Standing Vote (Senate only) • Roll-call or today’s Computerized Vote • A simple majority voteis all that is needed to pass a “bill”. If either house refuses to pass it, the bill dies. • The “bill” must be passed in identical formats in both houses – conference committees may be needed
Step 8 • Presidential Actionis the final step in the process. • To help us remember the possible Presidential actions on a bill, we will use the mnemonic device SVD(P2)
SVD(P2) • S stands for Sign It! The President can sign the bill into law! • V stands for Veto – which means to refuse to sign. • As a limit on the President’s power to veto, Congress can override the veto with a 2/3rds vote in each house – very unlikely • D stands for “Do Nothing” … The President can avoid acting on a bill by just leaving it on his desk. He is given 10 Days to “do nothing”… after 10 Days, • If Congress is still in session – the Bill becomes a Law, it automatically PASSES! • If Congress’ session ends before the 10 Days are up, the bill dies and this is called a POCKET VETO!
How a Bill Becomes a law • Idea • Introduced • Committee • Subcommittee • Committee • Full House or Senate Debate • Full House or Senate Vote • Presidential Action Video Review – how did “Bill” go through our “steps” of the law making process? Click here!
Let’s Reflect on What We’ve Learned How would you rate your understanding of the process of how a bill becomes a law? What are you most clear about? What questions do you still have?
Extending on What We’ve Learned… • Use the flowchart/graphic organizer to summarize the critical information learned in today’s lesson.