The first step of preparing a bill into a law is drafting the bill. Senate, the state legislatures, scholars, organizations, constituents and representatives do drafting of the bill. The senator in the senate chamber by way of parliamentarian introduces the drafted bill. If there is no objection to the bill at its introduction, then the bill is considered as read twice and referred to the relevant committee in the senate chamber.
The journal clerk enters the bill on the senate journal to give it a number, marked for printing and delivered to government printing office. Printed bill is delivered to the senate and delivered to the appropriate committee. The bill is then placed on legislative calendar. Consent is requested to allow lay the bill before the senate. The title of the bill is reported and the bill is debated to amend the necessary areas. The bill is then voted and when it passes, a final copy is prepared, engrossed bill is signed and passed to the House of Representatives. When the house passes the bill, it is signed and delivered to the White House where the bill is signed into a law, (Senate.gov, n.d.).
A bill can be terminated for various reasons. Senators may at times bring some irrelevant amendments to stop the bill. Although the rules committee limits the length of the debate, this is not applicable in the senate. This allows the senators to filibuster. Filibusters are very common for controversial bills brought to the senate. Senators can delay or even prevent the vote by means of extended debate. To end the debate (cloture), it requires 60 votes of the senate. Non-germane amendments are other impediments of the bill. When the senate introduces irrelevant amendments, the process requires the senate to drop them. The senate may not be willing to drop these irrelevant amendments. Thus, halt the legislative process.
As the bill passes through the House of Representatives, it can be terminated during the debate. After the debate, the vote is taken. Members may be unwilling to vote positively for the amendments proposed. Another way is during the exchange (the volleys) of the bill between the house of representative and the senate. The House of Representatives may fail to adopt the senate version. Note that the house speaker’s referral of the bill in legislation process cannot be easily challenged while the referral decision by the speaker of the senate can easily be challenged. Conference committee is mandated to negotiate and resolve the issues that the two houses are in disagreement, (The Center on Congress-Indiana University, 2011).
Congress is able to keep the executive branch in check using the following ways. The first is by overturning the presidential veto where two-thirds of the senate and the House of Representatives should vote for the override. The second one is the constitutional right of the congress to reject the nominations by the president to the posts within the cabinet or the Supreme Court. This is to protect the president from trying to use his powers to advance his/her agenda. Although both chambers of congress are important in checking the executive branch, Senate has more power over the executive branch. For instance, the power of nomination is very important to the president, thus the senate’s power to approve or reject the president’s nominations is equally important for the good of the public. Only the senate can confirm or reject the appointments made by the president, (cqpress.com, 2014).
Nominating the Supreme Court justices and the members of the cabinet is one of the most influential functions of the president of United States. Because Supreme Court justices and members of the cabinet have a wide range of powers, their ideologies are of very important to the society. The president may want to nominate people who share the same ideologies. This means that the president can use these positions to manipulate the whole country if not kept well in the check. Partisanship can easily assist in diminishing the powers of congress. The powers to execute federal laws, appointing federal executive, diplomats, regulatory and judicial officers are all vested in the President of United States. The president will always want to appoint people in these positions who share with him his philosophies. On the other hand, the congressional officials have two distinct purposes. That is, representing their constituents and making the law. If the majority of the people elected in congress share the same ideas with the president, it is easy for them to manipulate the president or themselves get manipulated by the president or simply the executive branch, (McCarty, n.d.).
cqpress.com, 2014). Structure and Powers of Congress. Retrieved November 7, 2014 from http://cqpress.com/incontext/constitution/docs/structure_powers.html
McCarty, N. (n.d.). Presidential Vetoes in the Early Republic: Changing Constitutional Norms or Electoral Reform? Retrieved November 7, 2014 from http://www.princeton.edu/~nmccarty/OLDVETO7.PDF
Senate.gov, (n.d.). Legislative Process: How a Senate Bill Becomes a Law. Retrieved November 7, 2014 from http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/legprocessflowchart.pdf
The Center on Congress-Indiana university, (2011). The Legislative Process. Retrieved November 7, 2014 from http://congress.indiana.edu/legislative-process