| Wiki Help
| IV Home
| All Countries
The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election.
The Congress meets in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The Constitution provides checks and balances among the three branches of the federal government. The authors of the Constitution expected the greater power to lie with Congress and it has been theorized that that is one reason they are described in Article One.
Introducing Bills and resolutions
A proposal may be introduced in Congress as a bill, a joint resolution, a concurrent resolution, or a simple resolution. Most legislative proposals are introduced as bills, but some are introduced as joint resolutions. There is little practical difference between the two, except that joint resolutions may include preambles but bills may not. Joint resolutions are the normal method used to propose a constitutional amendment or to declare war. On the other hand, concurrent resolutions (passed by both houses) and simple resolutions (passed by only one house) do not have the force of law. Instead, they serve to express the opinion of Congress, or to regulate procedure.
Bills (and other proposals) may be introduced by any member of either house. However, the Constitution provides that: "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.Nevertheless, while the Senate cannot originate revenue and appropriation bills, it does retain the power to amend or reject them.
Each bill goes through several stages in each house. The first stage involves consideration by a committee. Most legislation is considered by standing committees, each of which has jurisdiction over a particular subject matter, such as Agriculture or Appropriations. The House has twenty standing committees; the Senate has sixteen. In some cases, bills may be sent to select committees, which tend to have more narrow jurisdictions than standing committees. Each standing and select committee is led by a chair (who belongs to the majority party) and a ranking member (who belongs to the minority party). Committees are permitted to hold hearings and collect evidence when considering bills. They may also amend the bill, but the full house holds the power to accept or reject committee amendments. After considering and debating a measure, the committee votes on whether it wishes to report the measure to the full house.
Once a bill is approved by one house, it is sent to the other, which may pass, reject, or amend it. In order for the bill to become law, both houses must agree to identical versions of the bill. If the second house amends the bill, then the differences between the two versions must be reconciled in a conference committee, an ad hoc committee that includes both senators and representatives. In many cases, conference committees have introduced substantial changes to bills and added unrequested spending, significantly departing from both the House and Senate versions.
After passage by both houses, a bill is submitted to the President. The President may choose to sign the bill, thereby making it law. The President may also choose to veto the bill, returning it to Congress with his objections. In such a case, the bill only becomes law if each house of Congress votes to override the veto with a two-thirds majority. Finally, the President may choose to take no action, neither signing nor vetoing the bill. In such a case, the Constitution states that the bill automatically becomes law after ten days, excluding Sundays. However, if Congress adjourns (ends a legislative session) during the ten day period, then the bill does not become law. Thus, the President may veto legislation passed at the end of a congressional session simply by ignoring it; the maneuver is known as a pocket veto, and cannot be overridden by the adjourned Congress.
Bills introduced related to Legal Immigration in the recent past
Latest immigration bill in senate
Immigration related legislation, congressional action and regulatory actions
June 6, 2010 Grassley-Sanders Amendment
News articles and reports 1
News articles and reports 2
News articles and reports 3
Immigration deal announced
May 24 Senate Proceedings
April 5th senate proceedings
May 18 Senate proceedings
May 17 Senate proceedings
May 22 Senate proceedings
May 16 Senate proceedings
US House of Representative
Further Info and Discussions
HR5882 scheduled for July 31
IV needs support
Updates from Congress
CIR in senate, May 07
Important IV update: What we are working on and our plans Omnibus Appropriations Bill
HR 6039 introduced in House
Important news and updates about CIR
Senate Immig Amdmnt to Min Wage Bill not passed
Supprt Cornyn-Cantwell amendment
Omnibus update from IV
Legislative movement on Immigration
CIR in Senate, June 07
Call lawmakers on HR 5882
9 Immigration bills in 2006
Updates: House Judiciary Committee
CIR Conference committee updates
Lame duck session
2 action items alert
June 27 live update from senate floor
Senate passes CIR 06 with IV Goals
Sen.Cornyn introduces skill bill in senate