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Dance of Legislation

The'Dance of Legislation' is what an idea has to go through before it becomes a law. Legislation may be introduced in the House or the Senate, or even in both at the same time. The only exception is when dealing with financial issues, in which case the legislation has to start in the House. An example would be the issue of free tuition. Any member of Congress, voting or non-voting, can introduce any idea into the Congress. Once the idea has been introduced, it has two years to get through the Congress. If it does not succeed within the two years, it has to start all over again. This is due to the two year cycle of the House. On average, around 13,000 ideas are proposed in Congress each year; and of these 13,000 only about 400 actually become law; less than 5%. The House committees are usually made up of around 20 to 50 representatives whilst the Senate committees are made up of 10 to 20 senators. The chairman of any committee is typically the majority-party member who has served the longest on the committee.
The idea that has been submitted is sent to a committee who handles the idea. In the case of free tuition, the idea would be sent to the Education and Labor Committee. From here, it is delegated to a sub-committee of the Education and Labor Committee, most likely the Higher Education Committee. In the sub-committee, the idea, or bill, has to go through three stages; the hearing, the mark-up and the vote. At the hearing stage, a speaker is called in to explain the idea, or sell the idea to the committee. In the mark-up stage, the bill is then written down line by line. Then it goes to the voting stage. Here it needs a majority vote to be successful, otherwise the idea is dead. Typically a majority vote would be 218 of 435 votes. Between 80 to 90 percent of bills introduced to Congress die at this stage. If the bill is successful, it is the sent back to the full committee (Education and Labor Committee). The full comm…

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