Mock Congress Activity
The Process for Passing Bills:
1. A bill is introduced to the Senate/House.
2. The bill is referred to a committee.
3. If the committee approves the bill, it is signed and sent to the Rules Committee.
4. If the bill is approved and signed by the Rules Committee, then it goes to the full Senate/House for debate.
5. If the bill is passed by a majority of the Senate/House, it goes to the other chamber where the above process is repeated.
6. If the bill is passed by the second chamber, then it is sent to the President in the hopes that he will sign it.
The Process for Committee Work:
On the first day, elect a committee chairperson.
1. The chairperson will read each bill, one at a time. Discuss the bill. Everyone should focus on the same bill at the same time!
2. If a simple majority (one more than half) of your committee approves of the bill, then the chairperson signs it on the appropriate line. Once the bill is signed, send it immediately to the Rules Committee.
3. If the committee agrees with most of the bill but disagrees with a specific part, the committee may decide to amend the bill. The amendment should be neatly written. If part of the billÕs original writing is being eliminated, that part should neatly be crossed out.
4. If a majority of your committee does not approve of the bill, then pigeon-hole it by writing the name of your committee on the back. Place all pigeon-holed bills face down in your committee folder.
5. Keep any bill which are still being debated or have not yet been discussed face-up in your folder.
The Procedure for Congressional Debate:
á Bill is read by President Pro Tem/Speaker of the House.
á Author makes a statement explaining the importance of the bill.
á Bill is open for discussion (members raise their hands in order to be recognized to speak). Member begins by stating last name and the state he/she represents and then comments on the bill.
á If you wish to amend a bill, you must say, ÒI move that the bill be amended to readÉÓ There must be a second in order to discuss it. At that point discussion is focused only the amendment and not on the bill in its entirety.
á To vote on the amendment, someone must say, ÒI call the question on the amendment.Ó There must be a second on the motion in order to vote on the amendment.
á We continue with further discussion on the bill, if any.
á If you think the bill has been sufficiently discussed and you wish to call for a vote on the bill, you say ÒI call the question on the bill.Ó (There must be a second)
á If there are no objections to voting, then members will be asked to raise their hands at the appropriate time. Members may vote in favor of the bill, opposed to the bill, or may abstain from voting (You can only abstain on a maximum of three bills during the entire activity). You will then be asked to record your votes and explanations.
BILL #: TITLE: YOUR VOTE:
As a respected member of our Mock Congress, you are responsible for keeping a record of your voting decisions on bills that are debated on the Senate/House floor. Part of your grade will depend on how well you explain your vote in your notebook. Your voting explanations should be at least 3-4 sentences. You should demonstrate an understanding of some of the effects that the proposed bill will have as well as express your opinion on the billÕs topic.
You will be graded on your:
á completion of your voting record
á attendance during the activity-if youÕre absent a lot, you wonÕt get a good grade on your voting record or be able to make up the discussion that you miss
á completion of the four required bills (typed, and clearly and correctly written on serious topics)
á participation while working in committee (focused on the bill, respectfully voicing/listening to opinions
á participation during debate (expression your opinion and listening respectfully to others)