Uploaded by John Sagouspe


Legislative Branch of Government
A committee is a small group of people made up of members of congress
who are experts in certain subjects. For example, if a proposed new law
introduced in the Senate has to do with overhauling the public school
lunch program, the bill might be send to the Senate Committee on
Agriculture, which has legislative jurisdiction over agriculture, food, and
nutrition. There are twenty permanent committees in the House of
Representatives and twenty-one in the United States Senate. There are
also four joint committees that include members from both houses. The
House committees tend to be larger, because the House itself has
substantially more members.
First, a bill is placed on the committee's calendar.
The committee then discusses the bill. They
sometimes also bring in outside experts to help
them to better understand its nuances and
implications. They may or may not make
changes to it. Sometimes a bill is sent to a
subcommittee for further, more intensive study. If a bill changes a lot in
committee, they may reintroduce it as a “clean bill” that has been
assigned a new number. The committee will then vote on the bill. If it
passes, then it will return to the chamber of Congress where it originated
to be voted on there.
Approximately 90% of bills are not acted on at all by the committee that
receives it, or the committee may decide to “table,” or stop action on a
bill that they decide is unwise. When this happens, we say that the bill
“died in committee.” That means that the bill is stalled and will never
make it through all the steps that are required to become a law.
The status of live bills and updates on major actions taken on each bill are
posted to the Congress Bill Search, a Library of Congress website. At this
site, you can also read each version of the text of a bill. Only around 5% of
bills introduced in Congress eventually become law.
© www.EasyTeacherWorksheets.com