“Traffic Cop”, the Rules Committee may turn down a committee’s request for a special ruleSidestepping The Rules Committee:oEven though a bill fails, if the sponsors can round up enough votes, it can be moved to the floor, they may ask for “suspension of the rules, unanimous consent,or a discharge procedure”oA fourth procedure is known as, Calendar Wednesday, this is when standing committees are permitted to bring to the floor bills that lack privileged status; majority leaders usually requests for this to be ignoredThe Senate’s Simpler Procedures:oAll bills reported out of committee are assigned to a single calendar, the majority leader schedules debate on the bills after consulting with the party’s policy committee, also while listening to the wishes of the minority leader7. What happens when a bill reaches the floor?
People believed that Congress paid little attention to the people. But this is wrong. Much of a member’s time is taken up by committee hearings, meetings with constituents, and trips to the home district. This helps prepare lawmakers for floor debate on legislation.Debate in the House:Only a few bills survive the hearing process and earn a special rule from the Rules Committee. Those that pass that process are debated on the floor.oThey divide the time equally with an hour for each thing but if the bill is controversial, they may spend more time on it.oAfter the general debate, the bill receives a section by section second reading.TheHouse often turns itself into a Committee of the Whole at this time. oDebate on each amendment is usually limited to five minutes so that the members can sit at one large committee so they can make decisions more quickly.Debate in the Senate:The 100 members of the Senate have a tradition of unlimited debateand this results in fewers bills and simpler rules. A filibusteris when a senator or group ofsenators use unlimited debate to keep the Senate from voting on a bill.oThis delaying tactic can go on and on like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 lasted 3 months before it ended. The longest speech on record was 2 hours and 18 mins.oThe Senate can end a filibuster by invoking the closure ruleaka cloturewhich requires the signature of 16 senators followed by a “yes” vote from three-fifths of the Senate. Yet, the Senate rarely votes for closure.Delaying Tactics:The filibuster is a delaying tactic available only to Senators. oMembers of the Congress try to delay the action on a bill with ridersthat are amendments that have little to no relation to the main bill. Each rider must be debated and this furthers the final vote.oThe quorum callis the number of legislators who must be present before the bodycan vote on a bill. If the member counts head and announces that the body doesn’thave a quorum, then all the debate stops.
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