Congressional Procedure Simulation Instructions

For this assignment, you will pretend to be a member of Congress, introducing a bill of your choosing. During February 12’s class, we will go through the procedure of a bill becoming a law. The goal is to learn more about Congress and its internal workings. You will need to do some out of class preparation before class.

 

By Monday’s class, you need to:

  • Read Chapter 5 very carefully, with a special focus on the sections that discuss Congressional organization, leadership, committees, and how a bill becomes a law. Read it again.
  • Find out which body (House or Senate) and party you are in by looking at the attached spreadsheet.
  • You are now responsible for introducing your own bill (legislation). I do not require you to write your own. You should instead pick a real one that has been introduced. The catch is you need to pick a bill that has been introduced by either a House or Senate member (depending on what you’ve been assigned) of the same party as you’ve been assigned. You get to choose which member you will be.

 

 

  • From here, you can go a couple different directions. You can click on “Introduced” underneath “Bill Searches and Lists.”
    • Once you click on “introduced,” make sure the 115th Congress is the only one checked on the left hand side of the page. That is the current session of Congress.
    • Under Bill Type, select “Bills (HR or S)” not any resolutions
    • Status should be “Introduced”
    • Subject is up to you and you can leave that blank to keep your options open.
    • Chamber will depend on to which you have been assigned
    • Committee does not matter now, unless you are especially interested in one committee’s jurisdiction.
    • For Sponsor, you can choose any member you would like to be, or you can simply select your party.
      • When you choose chamber and party, you have all the bills which you are eligible to choose for this project.
    • Please work within these parameters and find something that interests you.
  • Your search parameters are now set. Choose a bill by clicking on the number (like H.R. 4).
    • This new page will give you all the information on the bill. Tabs allow you to select which information you would like.
    • Select “summary” and print this out and bring to class. Do not print out everything. Do not print out the bill text itself; they are too long.
    • You will also be responsible for knowing the major actions that have been taken, as well as the cosponsors.
  • This is your bill – be ready to discuss it and debate it with your classmates. This is also part of your assignment for the day and will be turned in. If you do not bring a bill to class, you do not get credit for it. Late assignments will not be accepted. This means you should print it out early to avoid problems.

 

  • Once you get to class, please sit with others who are assigned to your chamber (House or Senate) and then sit with your assigned party.
    • Please do this before class, even though we won’t get to it until after the break. Thus, the House will meet on one side of the room and the Senate on the other.
    • Also divide up into parties, so the Senate Democrats will sit opposite the Senate Republicans.

 

  • When class starts, you will elect leadership (see the chapter for information) and also choose which bill your party caucus decides is best and which one you will all get behind to support (coordination and collective action).
    • This is where you tell everyone about the bill you printed out and your party picks their favorite. This must happen quickly as there are a number of bills to get through. You should be able to describe your bill in 30 seconds or 3 sentences. This will be the bill you try to get passed. I’ll explain the rest in class.
    • Come to class prepared, as this assignment requires a great deal of active participation. Know your bill.

 

  • You will take notes during class on the process. Note leadership and the actions taken in class, as well as your thoughts on the process. Take this portion seriously; it can make a whole grade difference.

 

If you have any questions on this portion, please email me. Also, come to class with any questions you have about Congress and the reading.

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