All roads lead to congress by Panagopoulos and Joshua provides an exploration of an oversimplified legislative process exploring the institutional and congressional procedures. There has been various important issues that have been omitted and overlooked particularly from the student view of the legislative process. For example, they focus on some important omitted and overlooked issues such as highway funding and legislative process and procedure within the congress halls. It provides readers with a dynamic perspective of the world of distributive politics and the legislative process and procedures. According to this book, the impact of the poor road system is presented through the interstate 35W bridge. It is reported that the breakdown of the bridge had adverse effects on the community since it led to loss of lives (Hiler 2).
The government is obliged to enact laws and find the proper working system through enactment of various laws and Acts. The congress in concert with officials of various departments worked through the entire process of converting bills into law. For instance, the congress and other officials from various departments worked together to develop the surface transportation bill. According to article 1 of the United States constitution, the congress has the power and the right to write and pass laws. The United States constitution is comprised of two legislative chambers. The House of Representatives and the house of senate perform a crucial part in enacting the bills. According to the constitution, the house of representative and the house of the senate have to agree on the bill before presenting it to the president for signing (U.S Congress House, and Committee on Armed Services 1).
The president has the power to veto bills that have been presented to him by the two legislative chambers. The congress can also have the power and right to bills presented in the chamber for discussion. This happens when the congress manages to get 2/3 of the votes in the house. According to the constitution, a bill should follow the right procedures before it is converted into a law. The initial stage involves drafting of a bill. After the bill is drafted, a member of the congress introduces the drafted bill to the senate and house. Both the senate and house committee hear the bill and then make rulings. The conference committee tries to culminate the differences between the two committees and then present the bill for signing (McKeon 12).
The bill is introduced before the house committee and the senate committee. The two committees are expected to debate about the bill, amend the bill and write the proposed legislations. The bill goes through the committees again for further debating. In this process, the bill is thoroughly debated before being passed to the next stage. This ensures that the bill being passed is in line with the law. The committee solves the differences between the senate and house committees and present to the president for signing. After the differences are settled in the conference committee, the bill is taken back to the house and senate committee for further debating and amendments. It is later taken to the conference committee for the final stage (Library of Congress 3).
The government is responsible for allocating funds for improvement of transportation systems. The senate and house committee evaluates and develops the proper functioning of the bill. Both committees should determine the amount of funding required in order to improve infrastructure and transport systems. Therefore, all transport bills being enacted and converted into a law must adhere to the aforementioned procedures. The house and senate armed services committees are responsible for reporting various views of the National Defense Authorization Act (NAA). The two committees present bills which affect the military personnel, retirees, and their respective family members. Different versions from both committees are treated differently and kept waiting for comparative analysis by the defense committee. The conference committee is convened in order to solve the differences between the senate and house committees. The process of passing the bill takes into consideration views of different personnel affected by the bill (U.S Congress House, and Committee on Armed Services 2).
The Bill -H.R.4310 - National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2013
The senate and house committee constitutes various interests and various ideologies in their version for presentation to the conference committee. The house version of the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2013, H.R.4310 was introduced in the House on May 10th, 2012. The house committee on armed services reported the bill on 14th May 2012. The federal law of United States stipulates and specifies the budget and expenditures of the United States department of defense for the fiscal year 2013. The NDAA for the 2013 fiscal year was passed into law by the house armed services committee and signed by the president into law. According to reports, the house authorized $554.2 billion in base pentagon and $88 billion for the overseas contingency operations. The bill had passed both houses by May 18th with a vote of 299-120. The senate approved the bill on 4th December 2012with a vote of 98-0noes. The United States house of representative and the senate passed the NDAA for fiscal year 2013 to the conference committee in December 2012. The house passed the NDAA bill on 20th December 2012 with a vote of 315-107noes. The senate passed the same bill with a vote of 81-14noes on 221st December 2012. Later president Barrack Obama signed into law the NDAA bill on 2nd January 2013 (Levin 23).
The NDAA bill authorizes appropriations of the 2013 fiscal year or the department of defense programs and military activities. Appropriations on various departments in the defense programs are allocated and disbursed according to the agreed proportions. The departments of energy national security, transportation maritime security programs, retention bonuses, and other special payments related to the U.S armed forces. It seeks appropriations up to $ 633 billion for the NDAA fiscal year 2013. The budget is reported to contain a prohibition of Guantanamo detainee transfer to the United States.
According to the United States president, Barrack Obama, he did not approve a few of the sections in the bill even though he signed it into a law. This was because of the great funding which could not be evaded. Barrack Obama stipulated that he would continue to oppose some of those sections since they had some adverse impact on the United States citizens. For instance, there was a provision to thwart Obama’s campaign to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The other provision included the provision to give military officers the right to deny some certain actions which violate their conscience. Among other provisions, the president reiterated that he did not support the provisions. The signing of the bill into law by the President Barrack Obama led to mixed reactions from different organizations, civil rights activists, and human rights organizations in the United States (Levin 15).
The NDAA for fiscal year 2013 authorizes support for the military service members and their families. It renews some of the crucial national security programs and ensures that the military service members are treated well as they undertake their operations to defend the country. According to the president Barrack Obama, the legislations ensure that the united states will and continue to have the strongest military in the world. The legislation contained some sections which were opposed by various senior members of the public though the vast majority was highly acknowledged and appreciated. Some of the sections that could not be ignored included the renewal of the defense authorities and its funding. Various sections of the law limit the defense department in directing scarce resources to highest priorities for the nation’s security. Through the passage of the bill, various restrictions were imposed on the defense department in undertaking certain measures. For instance, the defense department's ability to retire unneeded ships and aircrafts was prohibited by the law. This was as a result of diversion of scarce resources needed and the effect of unfunded liabilities.
The department has also managed to reduce the cost of manpower through prudent sharing of cost. The cost sharing measure included some programs such as the health care programs. Inclusion of the cost sharing strategy in the legislation allowed effective cost management of the military members. Military force members are large in numbers and thus their expenditure rises at the same rate. Therefore, the reduction of some costs in some programs and allowing cost sharing will allow the military forces to operate without a reduction in their numbers. Section 533 of the legislation provides for the freedom of conscience of services members and chaplains. The section stipulates that service members and chaplains have the right to exercise the freedom of conscience in some situations. The regulations allow the secretary of defense to exclude any discriminatory acts while exercising this rule (Schank 15).
The secretary of defense is expected to carry out implementation of the regulations without compromising good orders and the military codes of good conduct within the force. The legislation also protects the rights of gay and lesbian military members. This is through the implementation of the repeal ‘Do Not Ask Do Not Tell’ in protecting the rights of each and every gay service member. According to the section 1025 of the legislation, military authority is restricted to transfer detainees held at the detention facility in Parwan, Afghanistan. The legislation limits the transfer of such detainees since they were captured on foreign battlefields by experienced military commanders. The law allows the commander in chief to make appropriate changes regarding the disposition of such detainees. For instance, if the detainees are held in a hostile environment, the commander in chief is allowed to make some crucial decisions about their dispositions. To some extent, the exception could alter the separation of powers according to the constitution. The conflict of power issue was addressed by the president in his speech after signing the bill. He said that the government would work to implement the section in order to avoid conflict of powers (Hiler 23).
The legislation affects the decisions of the executive branch authority in various undertakings. For instance, section 1028 of the legislation restricts the executive branch authority in the relocation of detainees to a foreign country. This provision in the constitution limits the power and executive ability of the executive branch authority to carry out its foreign relation activities and national security. At some point, the restriction of the executive branch authority causes conflict in separation of powers. The sections of the law are aimed at losing down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility since it weakens the national security though wastage of resources directed at the facility.
The United States president, Barrack Obama, stated that there will be an implementation of various sections in the law in order avoids constitutional conflict of powers. According to sections 1225, 3122, 913, and 1531, the constitutional mandate to carry out foreign relations in the United States could be interfered. Section 1035 of the legislation prohibits the executives in determining the proper nuclear force structure to be used by the military members (Library of Congress 2).
Some of the provisions in the Act affect the constitutional duty of the executive branch supervision. According to sections 827, 828, and 3164 can be interpreted in a way that causes interference with the president’s mandate to manage and guide executive branch officials in their respective duties. Some of the sections in the Act have been stated to affect various executive powers of the branch authority and also the president. The conflict of power experienced in the section has also a significant impact on the various decisions to be carried out by the executive branch authority. As a result of increased criticism on the issue, the president agreed he would work together with the administration in implementing such sections of the Act.
According to the committee on armed services, the Act provides the members of the committee to provide resources which currently meet threats that United States face. The Act allows the United States military force members are equipped with proper and adequate machines and safety in their work. The legislation puts into consideration the military force members and the entire family. Therefore, it is designed for strengthening the United States military force in order to overcome the threats it faces from the enemies. The legislation puts faith in all military members’ uniform. As a result of disparities in color, race, religion, and gender, the legislation prevents any kind of discrimination in the military force (McKeon 16).
The NDAA ensures that the military force has the necessary support from the government and the families. It encourages flexibility, capability, and healthy members in the United States military. The united states NDAA for fiscal year 2013 will ensure adequate resources are supplied to the military. This will provide the fighters with adequate resources needed in the war against terrorism and the enemies. The Act also has embraced on the strategic issues of dealing with nuclear forces. The legislation has modernized and supported the Department of Defense nuclear forces.
United States has endeavored in strengthening the military force in order to provide sufficient security to its citizens. The Act will require the secretary of defense to come up with a national security strategy for an industrial base and thus eliminate the problem of small business entities competing for the defense department's initiatives. The legislation will entail various provisions concerning the military personnel in the defense force. Therefore, most of the provisions aim at strengthening the United States military force members.
Hiler, Jon. Legislative Digest. 17th May 2012. 25th October 2013 <http://www.gop.gov/bill/112/2/hr4310amdts>.
Levin, Carl. NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2013. Chicago: U.S. Goverment printing office, 2012. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-112srpt173/html/CRPT-112srpt173.htm
Library of Congress. Congress.Gov. 29th March 2012. 25th October 2013 <http://beta.congress.gov/bill/112th/house-bill/4310>.
McKeon, Buck. Armed Services Committee. 18th December 2012. 25th Otober 2013 <http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=f679d36d-0994-4768-80be-78296d325e2d>.
Schank, Costas Panagopoulos and Joshua. "All Roads Lead to Congress: The $300 Billion Fight Over Highway Funding ." Journal of the Transportation Research Forum (2008): 121-123
U.S Congress House, and Committee on Armed Services. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. New York: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2012.