From an Idea to a Bill to a Law - Reading Comprehension
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From an Idea to a Bill to a Law Reading Comprehension
From an Idea to a Bill to a Law reading comprehension (sample is shown below)
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From an Idea to a Bill to a Law
By Phyllis Naegeli
1 The Legislative Branch is responsible for making laws necessary to the well-being of our nation. All laws start as ideas and come from a variety of sources. Congressional representatives, ordinary citizens, interest groups, and the president can present their ideas to Congress for consideration. In order for an idea to begin the journey to becoming a law, a member of Congress must sponsor it. When this happens, the idea becomes a bill. With the exception of bills concerning taxes (which must start in the House), bills can begin in either part of Congress. For this example, we will follow a bill that starts in the House of Representatives.
2 First, the bill is written, and then it is sent to the clerk of the House. The clerk assigns a special number to the bill beginning with the letters H.R. (House of Representatives). From there, the Speaker of the House sends the bill to a committee that deals with the subject of the bill. The committee studies the bill. If they do not like it, the bill is tabled. About ninety percent of all bills never receive a vote because they are tabled. If the committee decides to proceed, they usually hold hearings to listen to experts and interested parties talk about the bill. After the hearings, the committee marks up the bill by going through it line by line and making changes. Then they review the final draft and write a report to explain the reasons the bill should become a law.
3 With the report, the bill is sent to the House Rules Committee that sets the procedure for debate and amendment, including the time allotted for these actions. These rules are not usually open to change. Occasionally, they are waived to bring a particular bill up for vote faster. However, the power for this decision lies with the Rules Committee. Once the rules are determined, the bill is scheduled to go to the floor of the House. In addition to the specific rules for each bill, the Speaker of the House decides who may speak during the debate. The Speaker also keeps strict control over the debate. Representatives called to speak may be cut off mid-sentence when their time is up. After all time for debate and amendment has concluded, the Speaker calls for a vote. If a bill is passed in the House, it is sent to the Senate.
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