Congressional Paper Trail
The following outline includes all possible steps for each body ( i.e.
the House and the Senate). Not all
steps are followed; the only one that must exist is the introduction of the
of a bill, H.R. xxx or S. xxx. When
the bill is introduced, the member often includes a statement in the Congressional
Record. The bill itself is also
available in Congressional Universe.
introduction, the bill is automatically assigned to at least one Committee; it
can be assigned to several, and often is assigned to Subcommittees.
At the discretion of the Committee/Subcommittee Chairs, there may be
hearings. These hearings can be identified with Congressional
Universe. Hearings are not
necessary for the bill to proceed.
bill to proceed, all assigned Committees must report out the legislation.
This is usually done with a Committee report, with reflects both the
majority and dissenting opinions. Committee
reports can be identified in Congressional Universe.
To locate them in URSUS, again do a word search using the numbers.
the House only,
no bill can be brought to the floor without going first before the Rules
Committee. This Committee sets the
parameters for the debate, i.e. so much time per side, so many amendments.
A report is generated and can be identified with Congressional Universe.
These can also be located using URSUS.
being reported out of Committee, a bill may make it to the floor of the body for
debate. All debate can be found in
the Congressional Record.
Dates can be identified using
Congressional Universe. The recorded votes can be
found in the Record.
bodies of Congress must consider every bill, there are often instances when two
different versions are passed. If
the two bodies canít easily agree on one version, then a Conference Committee
is called to work out a compromise, made up of members of both bodies. This
Committee produces a report, which can be identified in Congressional Universe. This
can also be found using URSUS.
final version of a bill has passed Congress, it is then sent to the President
for signing or vetoing. If a bill
is vetoed, it returns to Congress, and more floor debate is possible if a vote
to overturn the veto is going to take place.
The Congressional Record is
the source for this debate and vote.