The Place of Government Bills In The Legislative Process

In each two year session of the Bill Tracking SpyglassUnited States Congress roughly 10,000 bills and resolutions are brought under consideration, yet of that number only about 4% will actually become law. Government bills are proposed laws that are presented to the legislature by a member of Congress. These bills are many times proposed as measures that will benefit the area which the member of Congress represents. Sometimes these bills will be of a more general nature regionally, and even nationally.

A proposed bill is first presented before a committee that oversees a certain area of society in order to organize measures that pertain to that area. For example, the agricultural committee would oversee measures that pertain to agriculture. If the bill has agreed to at the committee level, it is then brought out to the floor of the legislature for discussion, rephrasing, and a possible vote.

Amendments can be made to a bill, and those also can be debated, argued for or against an rephrased. Once a bill comes up for vote in one house of Congress and it passes, it is then sent to the other house of Congress, such as of the Senate of the United States or a similar process takes place. There, the bill can be debated, have amendments attached to it, and voted on.

images (5)If there is consensus in the Senate as far as principle, yet more details need to be worked out, then a joint conference committee is convened in order to work out the details. If agreement is reached among the conference committee members then the bill is sent to the President of the United States for signature, and if that occurs the bill becomes law. The president, however can veto the bill, and if that occurs the bill is sent back to the senate to be voted upon again. If the senate votes for the bill with more than a 2/3 majority vote, the senate will have overwritten the president’s veto and the bill will become law, otherwise the veto will prevail.

Government bills can cover many forms and matters of importance that pertain to the affairs of states and national interests. Ordinary citizens in the United States can be of influence to the elected officials by making known their concerns. This is why the government of the United States is called a representative republic. This is because only the elected officials can actually vote on a measure because if every individual citizen voted on every major nothing would ever get done to to the sheer numbers of voters.

iStock_000013557740XSmallThe process and deliberation of legislative bills being put forth in an effort to construct legal foundations for government’s actions is one of the more important duties of our legislative bodies. These processes are done in an open format so that all parties have the opportunity to debate and suggest alternatives if necessary. The fact that the ordinary citizen can have a voice in this process is unprecedented in the history of mankind, except for Greek and Roman legislative processes which were similar.