Make up a congressional bill


At the heart of congressional politics is the legislative process. The work required for a proposed bill to become federal law for a given member of Congress is often time-consuming and tedious, but being able to help one’s constituents and society as a whole is also very rewarding.

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Your main written assignment for this course involves developing a proposed bill and then creating a strategic plan for achieving legislative success through presidential approval of the measure. This assignment will allow you to develop a detailed understanding of the complex thought process that goes into how to navigate each step of the legislative process while building support and lessening opposition for your bill—so that it hopefully survives the halls of Congress.

Your Congressional Bill is worth 15% of your overall course grade.

Basic Structure of Your Bill

Your bill will consist of different sections that are designed to illustrate several topics of the course. As such, I highly encourage you to work on your bill throughout the term and not wait until the final weeks of the semester to write this assignment.

You will need to immerse yourself in research about different individuals in Congress, the institutional structure of each branch, the committee and subcommittee system—not to mention the specifics of your policy area itself.

Your completed assignment should include the following sections. I have provided questions to help you as you guide your thinking about each stage of the legislative process.

• Introduction
o What is the specific title of your bill? How does the title illustrate the bill’s overall

significance or importance?

Sponsorship and Co-Sponsorship
o Why is the bill needed at this point in society? Why are you sponsoring it? o Which of your congressional colleagues might co-sponsor the bill? Why?

 NOTE: This will likely take a bit of research into the histories of a few real-life members of Congress.

Committee and Subcommittee Referral
o Which House and Senate committee would likely be the best place for your bill to be

referred? Why?

Committee and Subcommittee Hearings
o Who might you invite to a public hearing which is considering your bill?

 What might they say in support or opposition to the measure in question?

Committee Vote and Passage
o How would you convince your committee colleagues to pass your bill?

 NOTE: Making these decisions will probably involve understanding the desires of the other committee members.

Floor Debate and Vote
o How do you think your bill will fare on the House and Senate floors? o Who might speak out favoring or opposing your bill?
o Do you feel your bill will pass or fail by a slim or wide margin?

Presidential Action
o Do you feel that President Trump will support or veto your bill? Why?
o If your bill is vetoed, do you think that the current Congress could override it?

Member Speech
o You must include a one-page floor speech advocating for passage of the bill at any

stage of the legislative process.
 The speech can be written in an informal way but should be placed at the end

of your assignment. Please reference whether it is a speech given during floor debate, at the beginning or end of a committee hearing, etc.

Sources and Citing Information

You should NOT use Wikipedia as a source. Wikipedia, in many cases, may be edited by

anyone and quality is hard to control.

Any outside material MUST be cited BOTH in the text of your paper and through a separate “Works Cited” page at the end of your paper.

o For most Internet sources, an in text-citation will consist of the author’s last name and year the article was published in parentheses after the cited material.

 Example: (Trantham 2020).
o If you have any questions on formatting sources, please contact Dr. Trantham.

Submitting Your Bill

Your completed assignment should be 7-8 full and complete pages, typed, double-spaced,

Times New Roman, 12pt font, and 1-inch margins on all sides.
o Points will be deducted for failure to follow formatting guidelines.

Grading Your Bill

• I will grade your work holistically, but the questions below provide general considerations for you to think about as you craft your bill and legislative strategy.

o Does your assignment provide a clear, detailed, and realistic plan for navigating your bill through the legislative process?

 Are you considering the House, Senate, and President in your thoughts?

o Is course material and/or current events cited in the assignment?
 Please feel free to cite recent happenings in Congress that might either support

or detract from your bill’s passage.
 NOTE: Please properly cite any books, articles, etc. that you use.

Refer to the “Sources and Citing Information” section above.

o Does the ending member speech convince me to support the bill? Why or why not?

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