195 votes
Accepted

What is the point of prohibiting currently impossible things?

As I see it, there are fundamentally three reasons a person would outlaw an action that is currently impossible: To ensure that the first attempt is illegal If you refuse to outlaw an immoral act ...
  • 5,786
112 votes
Accepted

Why are congressional votes not secret?

Because Congress is accountable to their constituents. You are only accountable to yourself. If how they vote is secret, there's no way of holding them to the promises they made. They could just say &...
  • 4,104
90 votes

What would stop a representative democracy becoming a dictatorship?

The only obstacle between a government by the people and a dictatorship are the people.
80 votes
Accepted

What would stop a representative democracy becoming a dictatorship?

Most democratic countries have a constitution which says how the state functions and what kinds of laws can and can not be made. Laws which contradict the constitution are usually declared invalid by ...
  • 69.4k
74 votes
Accepted

Why have US Presidents not been given the power of line item vetoes?

It's a good idea if you think the President should have much stronger powers than other branches, and that legislative compromise should be eliminated, as part of the system, altogether. As much as ...
  • 20.6k
70 votes
Accepted

How does lobbying work in the US?

The mechanics of lobbying can work at several levels. "Senator, I represent the National Association of Flute and Tuba Manufacturers. Were you aware that flute and tuba manufacturers are the fifth ...
53 votes

How do politicians scrutinize bills that are thousands of pages long?

Teamwork and Staff No single representative reads all those pages, but the various committee members look at the parts which are their area of expertise. And then a representative on the Armed ...
  • 90.7k
50 votes
Accepted

What is the point in delaying the signing of legislation that the President supports?

The buck stops with the President. Once the President signs a law is becomes law and he can't take that back. Major legislation runs hundreds of pages and it is commonplace for there to be myriad ...
  • 59.2k
49 votes
Accepted

Why doesn't the Texas legislature nuke the quorum?

Why doesn't the Texas legislature nuke the quorum? ... why doesn't the GOP nuke the quorum and now only require a simple majority of members? Any change to the quorum requires an amendment to the ...
48 votes

Why do Senators and Representatives miss so many votes?

It depends on which votes we're talking about. Votes happen on the House and Senate floor. But they also happen in committees and subcommittees. Most of the actual work of being a legislator happens ...
  • 5,998
45 votes

What is the point in delaying the signing of legislation that the President supports?

Odd though it may seem from the outside, the President — if he is doing his job correctly — is actually quite busy. Biden in particular is still within his first 100 days (a benchmark test for every ...
  • 56.6k
44 votes

What prevents a single senator from passing a bill they want with a 1-0 vote?

Votes have to be taken in the Senate chamber during an offical sitting of the Senate. A senator can't just pass a bill when they are alone in their office. They can't creep into the chamber in the ...
  • 101k
43 votes

What would stop a representative democracy becoming a dictatorship?

A good example of a system trying to prevent this is the Constitution of Norway. The constitution has various ways to protect itself from being altered in undesirable ways. Changes to the ...
  • 2,131
42 votes

Why have US Presidents not been given the power of line item vetoes?

Why have US Presidents not been given the power of line item vetoes They have. Congress passed the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, but it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Clinton v. ...
  • 88.5k
40 votes

How does lobbying work in the US?

A legitimate lobbyist is paid to explain the needs of some special interest groups to the politicians. And also how the needs of that special interest group benefit the electorate as a whole, or at ...
  • 90.7k
37 votes
Accepted

Did Republicans accidentally kill corporate deductions, and will it force the Senate to revise and re-vote?

The reporting on the senate bill still having the AMT set at 20% and the new corporate tax level being at 20% while the house bill removed the AMT is accurate. Corporations have been outspoken in ...
  • 10.4k
37 votes
Accepted

How would a vote in US congress taken under duress be later invalidated?

The simple fact is that there is a ghost in the machine. It is common to see questions on this forum discussing the working of the Constitution in some extreme condition. Perhaps because many people ...
  • 101k
32 votes
Accepted

What is the minimum amount of votes needed in both Chambers of Congress to send an Admission to the Union resolution to the President?

Admitting a new state to the Union requires only a normal joint act of Congress which is passed the same as any other bill. The threshold is therefore a majority in the House and a majority in the ...
  • 25.8k
27 votes

What is the point of prohibiting currently impossible things?

A fairly large one is that Nobody has considered all the legal ramifications yet You brought up cloning as an example so let's run with that. This article goes over why we can't clone humans yet and ...
  • 41.1k
27 votes
Accepted

What would happen if Senators boycotted the Impeachment Vote

The precise wording in the Constitution (with emphasis added) is: The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. ...
  • 27.7k
26 votes
Accepted

Why can't laws be shorter?

The Purpose of those Laws The Constitution serves a difference purpose than other laws. The Constitution provides a skeletal outline of our government, but it doesn't provide specifics. Other laws ...
  • 23.5k
24 votes
Accepted

Why is an unrelated House-passed measure used to start the immigration debate in the Senate?

This is a common legislative tactic. Although Sen. McConnell didn't explicitly describe his plan, he was likely planning on gutting the bill (removing all of its current content) and eventually ...
  • 23.5k
24 votes

What is the point of prohibiting currently impossible things?

One factor not yet mentioned in the other answers is that legislators do not draft laws purely for the effects they will have when implemented, but also for the effect which announcing them as policy ...
24 votes
Accepted

Name for a popular measure added to a bill for the purpose of later attacking those who vote against that bill?

What you're describing is essentially a reverse poison pill. The poison pill, or wrecking amendment, is an amendment whose purpose is to make the passage of a bill completely intolerable to the side ...
18 votes

Why do Senators and Representatives miss so many votes?

One could say that the real job of a representative is to sit in committees, and to prepare for committees, and to pour over budget proposals. By the time an issue reaches the floor of the House or ...
  • 90.7k
17 votes
Accepted

Why did the Senate use an existing bill that passed the House in July 2019 to create the CARES Act?

The reason for amending this bill instead of the Senate creating a new bill was to fulfil the requirements of Article I, Section 7, Clause 1 of the Constitution, also known as the Origination or ...
  • 90.6k
16 votes
Accepted

Does it matter what is said on the US Congress floor?

Floor speeches are for the constituencies, for the judiciary to understand the reasoning behind the passage of a bill, and sometimes for other audiences (e.g. foreign audiences or large-dollar ...
  • 1,248
16 votes

What is the point of prohibiting currently impossible things?

In your cited case, to forestall further research being put into the subject. If the activity is deemed illegal, then most research organizations that might work on this are excluded, and progress ...
  • 10.2k
16 votes
Accepted

Can an MP who didn't vote for the 2nd reading of a bill propose amendments to it?

It's not true. The rule would be completely unworkable; Opposition MPs would be unable to table any amendments to government bills, since they'll almost inevitably have voted against the second ...
  • 5,743

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