US House of Representatives

How Politicians Make Law in the United States?

It is a web-friendly presentation of “How Our Laws Are Made” (Housebook 110-49); Revised and revised by John V. Sullivan, Congressman, United States House of Representatives, July 2007.


This online resource provides an essential overview of many of our federal legislative processes and procedures from the source of ideas for legislative proposals to their publication as law. The legislative process is a subject that everyone must have sufficient knowledge to understand and appreciate the work of Congress. We hope that this guide will give readers a better understanding of the federal constitution and its role as one of the foundations of our representative system.

One of the best defenses of the American democratic way of life is this constitution that emphasizes the protection of minorities, giving full opportunity to all groups to be heard and to make their views known. The fact that proposals cannot become law without the scrutiny and approval of both houses of Congress is a unique feature of our bicameral legislative system. An open and comprehensive discussion of the Constitution often results in significant increases in costs through amendments before they become law or repeal of the proposed plan. As most laws come from the House of Representatives, this discussion will focus on the process within the organization.


Article I, Section 1 of the United States Constitution states that:

All legislative powers granted herein shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The members of the Senate are one hundred members – two from each state, regardless of population or region – elected by the people in accordance with the 17th amendment to the Constitution. The 17th Amendment changed the old constitutional system in which senators were elected by individual state legislatures.

A senator must be at least 30 years of age, have been a citizen of the United States for nine years, and, when elected, be a resident of the state for which the senator was elected. The term is six years and one third of all members of the Senate are elected every two years. The terms of two senators from the same state are arranged so that they do not expire at the same time. Of the two senators of a state sitting at the same time, the one elected first or, if both are elected at the same time, the one elected for the full term, is called ” Senior” Senator from State. The other is called a “junior” senator. If a senator dies or resigns while in office, the governor of the state must call a special election unless the state legislature authorizes the governor to appoint a successor until another election, when a will appoint a successor for the remainder of the term. . Many state legislatures have given their governors discretionary powers.

Each senator has one vote. As it was done during the 110th Congress, the House of Representatives has 435 members who are elected every two years from the 50 states, distributed according to their total population. A permanent population of 435 was established by federal law following the Thirteenth Decennial Census in 1910, pursuant to Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution.

This number was temporarily increased to 437 for the 87th Congress to provide one representative for Alaska and Hawaii. The law restricted the number of representatives to no more than one for every 30,000 people. Under the old state boundaries, one representative represented more than 900,000 voters, while another in the same state was elected from a district of only 175,000. The Supreme Court has declared Missouri’s law unconstitutional that allows the 3.1% rate to be mathematically equivalent. The court held in Kirkpatrick v. Preisler, 394 U.S. 526 (1969), that differences between regions are not inevitable and, therefore, negative. This decision was an interpretation of the Court’s earlier decision in Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1 (1964), that the Constitution requires that ‘so far as possible one man’s vote in an election for Congress be as good as another man’s.’

A law enacted in 1967 abolished all “general” elections, except in less populous states entitled to a single representative. A general election is an election in which the voters of the entire state choose a representative rather than the voters of the congressional districts within the state.

A Representative must be at least 25 years of age, have been a citizen of the United States for seven years and, when elected, be a resident of the state in which the Representative is elected. Unlike the Senate, where a governor can nominate a successor when a vacancy occurs during a term, if a representative dies or resigns during the term, the state executive authority must call a special election in accordance with the law state for election. a successor for the remainder of the term. Each Representative has one vote.

In addition to Representatives from each of the states, a Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Deputies from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands are elected under federal law. The Resident Commissioner, elected for a four-year term, and the Deputies, elected for a two-year term, have most of the prerogatives of Representatives, including the right to vote on the Committee to which they are elected, the right to vote on the Committee of the Whole (subject to vote ex officio in the Chamber provided that a verbal vote decides with a margin within which the votes expressed by the Delegates and the Resident Commissioner were decisive), and the right to chair the Committee of the Whole. However, the Resident Commissioner and Deputies have no vote on matters before the House. According to the provisions of section 2 of the 20th amendment to the Constitution, the congress must meet at least once a year, at noon on the third day of January, unless by law they do not designate a different day.

A congress lasts two years, starting from January of the year after the two -year election of the members. A Congress is divided into two ordinary sessions.

The Constitution gives each House the power to establish the rules of its own procedures. In accordance with this authority, the House of Representatives re-adopts its rules at each Congress, usually on the opening day of the first session. The Senate considers itself to be a continuous body and operates under continuous standing rules which it modifies from time to time. Unlike other parliamentary bodies, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have the same functions and legislative powers with certain exceptions. For example, the Constitution provides that only the House of Representatives can originate revenue bills. Traditionally, the House also originates appropriation bills. Since both bodies have equal legislative powers, the designation of one as an “upper” house and the other as a “lower” house is not applicable. The primary function of Congress is to make laws.

In addition, the Senate has the function of advising and consenting to treaties and certain appointments of the President. Under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, one vote is required in each House to confirm the President’s nomination for Vice President when there is a vacancy in that office. In impeachment matters, the House of Representatives files charges — a function similar to that of a grand jury — and the Senate meets as a court to adjudicate on the impeachment process. No defendant may be removed without the vote of two-thirds of the voting Senators, quorums present. Congress under the Constitution and statute also plays a role in presidential elections.

Both Houses meet in joint session on January 6 following the presidential elections, unless otherwise provided by law, to count the electoral votes. If no candidate wins a majority of the total electoral votes, the House of Representatives, having one vote for each state delegation, elects the President from among the three candidates with the most electoral votes. The Senate, having one vote for each Senator, elects the Vice President from the two candidates with the highest number of votes for that office.


The sources of ideas for legislation are limitless, and proposed legislation comes from many different places. Chief among these is the idea and draft conceived by a member. This may arise from campaigning during which the MP promised, if elected, to introduce legislation on a particular issue. The member may also have become aware after taking office of the need to amend or repeal an existing law or to enact a statute in an entirely new field.

Furthermore, the electors of the deputy, individually or through groups of citizens, can exercise the right of petition and send their proposals to the deputy. The right to petition is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Similarly, state legislators can “memorial” Congress for making specific federal laws by passing resolutions that will be passed to the House and Senate as memorials.

If impressed by the idea, a member can present the proposal in the form in which it was presented or can reformulate it. In either case, a member may consult with the House or Senate Legislative Council to frame ideas into appropriate legislative language and form.

In modern times, “executive communication” has become a prolific source of legislative proposals. The communication is usually in the form of a message or letter from a member of the president’s cabinet, the head of an independent agency, or the president himself, conveying a draft of a bill to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Speaker. of the senate

Notwithstanding the structure of the separation of powers, Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution imposes an obligation on the President to report periodically to Congress on the “State of the Union” and to recommend for its consideration such measures as the President deems necessary. necessary and convenient. Many of these executive communications follow the President’s State of the Union message to Congress. The communication is then referred to the standing committee(s) competent for the subject of the proposal. The chairman or senior minority member of the relevant committee often introduces the bill, as received or with desired amendments.

This practice is often followed even when the majority of the House and the Speaker are not from the same political party, although there is no constitutional or statutory requirement that a bill be introduced to implement the recommendations. The most important of the periodic executive communications is the annual message from the President forwarding the budget proposal to Congress. The President’s budget proposal, along with testimony from officials in various branches of government before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, is the basis for several appropriations bills authored by the House, House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

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The drafting of articles of association is an art that requires great skill, knowledge and experience. In some cases, a draft is the result of a study covering a period of a year or more by a committee or commission appointed by the President or a Cabinet member. The Administrative Procedure Act and the Uniform Code of Military Justice are two examples of normative acts resulting from such studies. Additionally, congressional committees sometimes write bills after studies and hearings spanning periods of a year or more.


Congressional proceedings begin with the submission of a proposal in one of four forms: bill, joint resolution, concurrent resolution, and simple resolution. The most common form used in both houses is the bill. During the 109th Congress (2005-2006) 10,558 bills and 143 joint resolutions were presented in both chambers. Out of the total submitted, 6,436 bills and 102 joint resolutions originated from the House of Representatives.

For simplicity, this discussion will be limited in principle to the proceeding on a House order, with a brief commentary on each of the forms. INVOICES
A bill is the form used for most legislation, whether permanent or temporary, general or special, public or private.

The form of a House bill is as follows:


For the constitution, etc. [how can the title be].

Be enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America

America in Congress assembled, It, etc. The implementation clause was prescribed by law in 1871 and is identical in all bills, whether they originate in the House of Representatives or the Senate.

Bills can come from the House of Representatives or the Senate with one notable exception. Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution states that all revenue-raising bills must come from the House of Representatives, but that the Senate can propose or accept amendments. Traditionally, general appropriations bills also originate in the House of Representatives. There are two types of invoices: public and private. A public bill is one that affects the general public. A bill that affects a specific individual or private body rather than the general population is called a private bill. A typical private bill is used to ease issues such as immigration, naturalization, and insurance claims.

A bill starting in the Place of Delegates is assigned by ”H.R.” trailed by a number that it holds all through the entirety of its parliamentary stages. The letters imply ”Place of Agents” and not, as is now and again erroneously expected, ”House goal.”

A Senate bill is assigned by ”S.” trailed by its number. The term ”friend bill” is utilized to depict a bill presented in one Place of Congress that is comparative or indistinguishable from a bill presented in the other Place of Congress.

A bill that has been consented to in indistinguishable structure by the two bodies turns into the rule that everyone must follow solely after —

(1) Official endorsement; or

(2) disappointment by the President to return it with issues with the House in which it started in something like 10 days (Sundays excepted) while Congress is in meeting; or

(3) the superseding of an official denial by a 66% vote in each House.

Such a bill doesn’t become regulation without the President’s mark on the off chance that Congress by their last intermission forestalls its return with complaints. This is known as a ”pocket blackball.” For a conversation of official activity on regulation, see Part XVIII.


Joint goals might start either in the Place of Agents or in the Senate — not, as is in some cases mistakenly expected, mutually in the two Houses. There is minimal down to earth distinction between a bill and a joint goal and the two structures are in some cases utilized reciprocally. One distinction in structure is that a joint goal might incorporate a prelude going before the settling statement. Rules that have been started as bills might be revised by a joint goal as well as the other way around. Both are dependent upon a similar strategy with the exception of a joint goal proposing a revision to the Constitution. At the point when a joint goal revising the Constitution is endorsed by 66% of the two Houses, it isn’t introduced to the President for endorsement. Rather, such a joint goal is sent straightforwardly to the Documenter of the US for accommodation to the few states where sanction by the governing bodies of three-fourths of the states inside the timeframe endorsed in the joint goal is fundamental for the revision to turn out to be essential for the Constitution.

The type of a House joint goal is as per the following:


Approving, and so forth [as the title may be].

Settled by the Senate and Place of Agents of the US of America

in Congress gathered, That, and so on.

The settling proviso is indistinguishable in both House and Senate joint goals as has been recommended by rule starting around 1871. It is regularly gone before by an introduction comprising of at least one ”while” provisions showing the need for or the attractiveness of the joint goal.

A joint goal beginning in the Place of Delegates is assigned ”H.J. Res.” trailed by its singular number which it holds all through the entirety of its parliamentary stages 카지노사이트. One beginning in the Senate is assigned ”S.J. Res.” trailed by its number.

Joint goals, except for proposed corrections to the Constitution, become regulation in similar way as bills.

Simultaneous Goals

A matter influencing the tasks of the two Houses is normally started by a simultaneous goal. In present day practice, not entirely settled by the High Court in INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983), simultaneous and basic goals regularly are not authoritative in character since not ”introduced” to the President for endorsement, however are utilized just for communicating realities, standards, sentiments, and motivations behind the two Houses. A simultaneous goal isn’t identical to a bill. The term ”simultaneous”, like ”joint”, doesn’t connote concurrent presentation and thought in the two Houses.

A simultaneous goal starting in the Place of Delegates is assigned ”H. Con. Res.” trailed by its singular number, while a Senate simultaneous goal is assigned ”S. Con. Res.” along with its number. On endorsement by the two Houses, they are endorsed by the Representative of the House and the Secretary of the Senate and communicated to the Documenter of the US for distribution in an exceptional piece of the Rules in general volume covering that meeting of Congress.

Basic Goals

A matter concerning the principles, the activity, or the assessment of either House alone is started by a straightforward goal. A goal influencing the Place of Delegates is assigned ”H. Res.” Trailed by its number, while a Senate goal is assigned ”S. Res.” along with its number. Basic goals are viewed as exclusively by the body in which they were presented. Upon reception, straightforward goals are validated by the Assistant of the Place of Agents or the Secretary of the Senate and are distributed in the Legislative Record.

V. Acquaintance AND Reference With Board of trustees

Any Part, Representative or the Occupant Magistrate from Puerto Rico in the Place of Delegates might present a bill out of the blue while the House is in meeting by essentially putting it in the ”container,” a wooden box accommodated that reason situated on the platform in the House Chamber. Authorization isn’t expected to present the action. The Part presenting the bill is known as the essential support. But on account of private bills, a limitless number of Individuals might cosponsor a bill. To forestall the likelihood that a bill may be presented in the House for a Part without that Part’s earlier endorsement, the essential support’s mark should show up on the bill before it is acknowledged for presentation. Individuals who cosponsor a bill upon its date of presentation are unique cosponsors. Individuals who cosponsor a bill after its presentation are extra cosponsors. Cosponsors are not expected to sign the bill. A Part may not be added or erased as a cosponsor after the bill has been accounted for by, or released from, the last council approved to think about it, and the Speaker may not engage a solicitation to erase the name of the essential support whenever. Cosponsors’ names might be erased by their own consistent assent solicitation or that of the essential support.

In the Senate, limitless numerous sponsorship of a bill is allowed. A Part might embed the words ”in response to popular demand” after the Part’s name to show that the presentation of the action is healthy body and mind at the idea of another individual or gathering — normally the President or an individual from his Bureau.

In the Senate, a Congressperson for the most part presents a bill or goal by introducing it to one of the representatives at the Directing Official’s work area, without remarking on it from the floor of the Senate. Nonetheless, a Representative might utilize a more conventional technique by rising and presenting the bill or goal from the floor, typically joined by an explanation about the action. Oftentimes, Representatives get agree to have the bill or goal imprinted in the Legislative Record following their conventional explanation.

In the Place of Delegates, it is presently not the custom to understand bills — even by title — at the hour of presentation. The title is placed in the Diary and imprinted in the Legislative Record, in this manner saving the reason for the custom. The bill is allocated its regulative number by the Agent. The bill is then alluded as expected by the standards of the House to the fitting council or boards by the Speaker, with the help of the Parliamentarian. The bill number and panel reference show up in the following issue of the Legislative Record. It is then shipped off the Public authority Printing Office where it is printed and duplicates are made accessible in the report rooms of the two Houses. Printed and electronic renditions of the bill are likewise made accessible to general society.

Duplicates of the bill are shipped off the workplace of the administrator of every board to which it has been alluded. The representative of the council enters it on the advisory group’s Administrative Schedule.

Maybe the main period of the administrative interaction is the activity by panels. The boards give the most escalated thought to a proposed measure as well as the discussion where the general population is offered their chance to be heard. A colossal volume of work, frequently neglected by people in general, is finished by the Individuals in this stage. There are, as of now, 20 standing councils in the House and 16 in the Senate as well as a few select boards of trustees. What’s more, there are four standing joint boards of trustees of the two Houses, with oversight obligations yet no authoritative locale. The House may likewise make select panels or teams to concentrate on unambiguous issues and report on them to the House. A team might be laid out officially through a goal passed by the House or casually through association of intrigued Individuals by the House initiative.

Every board of trustees’ locale is characterized by specific topic under the standards of each House and all actions are alluded in like manner. For instance, the Board of trustees on the Legal executive in the House has purview over measures connecting with legal actions and 18 different classes, including established corrections, movement strategy, liquidation, licenses, copyrights, and brand names. Altogether, the standards of the House and of the Senate each accommodate more than 200 unique orders of measures to be alluded to boards of trustees.

Until 1975, the Speaker of the House could allude a bill to just a single board of trustees. In current practice, the Speaker might allude an acquainted bill with numerous boards for thought of those arrangements of the bill inside the locale of every advisory group concerned. But in remarkable conditions, the Speaker should assign an essential board of trustees of purview on charges alluded to various panels.

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