Congress and the Passage of Bills…or not?

Congress and the Passage of Bills…or not?

Congress often becomes the subject of quite formulaic 15 mark questions in exams due to the formulaic nature of Congress. No where can this be more evident than in the process of a Bill becoming a Law. While Schoolhouse Rock reduces this to an excellent three minute video, the reality is that more bills die during this process than actually complete the full journey. In fact, according to govtrack.us, in the current 113th Congress, just 47 laws have been enacted, while 5,474 remain in committee, or reported out but with no further action taken; in the 112th Congress, only 2% of laws were passed. So, this raises the question of why Congress is such a graveyard for bills when they are supposed to be the legislative body, and this article goes some way to explaining this. The ENDA Act (which has already been published on this Blog) has now passed in the Senate, and yet there is little expectation that the House of Representatives will actually hear it, essentially killing this bill. As Upper XIth students, you are expected to have a more rounded, and less formulaic view, of Politics, and this article gives a great account of the life, and death, of a bill within Congress.

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