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2012-10-24 The Structure of Congress.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2244E
P Ferguson

The Structure of Congress October 24, 2012 -policy paper -look at it in this lens -e.g. high speed rail -you can talk about environment and economics -don’t do more than 3 prisms/lens (e.g. environment, social, economic, etc.) -methods of evaluating options *lay out problem and give methods to evaluate the alternatives* -methods of decisions -e.g. no high speed rail (low on environment; high on efficient spending) -e.g. start out high speed rail (medium on environment; medium on spending) -e.g. full on build high speed rail (high on environment, and how it influences on the economy) -possible topics: e.g. environment, education, healthcare reform, etc. -under assignments on OWL The Congress -Schoolhouse Rock “I’m Just a Bill” -Family Guy’s “I’m just a bill” video -Bill introduced in House -bill referred to committee.... *look at chart in textbook* -5-10% bills introduced in a given session of Congress end up becoming law How a Bill Becomes a Law (1) -draft a bill -Congressperson drafts a bill -draft: write it up -who else drafts bills? lawyer (somebody who knows legislation), interest groups, people not in federal government but in other levels of government (e.g. mayor), staffers, people in local offices, companies and organizations, industry association groups, donors -Introduced by a member of Congress -anybody can write a bill, but only a Congressperson can introduce it -Not President: President can draft/propose legislation, but they cannot introduce it -Appropriation bills originate in the House -Bill referred to a committee -send it to subcommittee; -Hearings and mark-up sessions -subcommittees can kill it by not recommending it up to committee -both sides put list up together and subcommittee listen to what they have to say -Most bills die in committee How a Bill Becomes a Bill (2) -if the bill doesn’t die, then the Committee reports the bill to Senate -majority of committee says yes = sends it up to Senate -majority of committee says no = bill dies -Placed on a calendar -Rules Committee in House -Bills are debated on the Floor -if they are passed, they go to Senate -Filibuster -historically, if you controlled the floor, people couldn’t take it away from you -you can talk and talk and talk and talk and talk -some people read the phonebook aloud -somebody can say “will you yield the floor?” -it ground government to a halt -Only Senate -Cloture = 60 votes -if there are 60 votes, you can stop the person controlling the floor from talking -Double-tracking -Senate has been doing things sequentially -if somebody filibusters bill 1, you can’t move on to bill 2 -you can register a filibuster bill 1; you just sign it -if there’s 60 votes, filibuster ends and you continue to debate -if you wanted to filibuster, you need to be prepared to not go to washroom and not eat unless the food is close by (where you cannot leave the podium) -new rule with double-tracking: if bill 1 is being
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