195

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 until it can be shown to be possible, you run the risk that a person can commit this act before it has been made illegal. Essentially, the legislative body doesn'...


74

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 we hate the way legislation is bundled, it is, quite often the way to work compromise into the system. I don't vote for measure "A", but I want measure "B", ...


70

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 largest employer in your state? Could I have 20 minutes of your time to present a white paper about the importance of tax policy X for the health of flute and ...


53

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 Services committee (from either side of the aisle) trusts that his or her party's representatives on the Agriculture committee got the agricultural matters right, and ...


50

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 change at the last minute in Congressional negotiations to secure the joint approval of a Senate amended version of a House bill, or visa versa. It would hardly be ...


49

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 Constitution. THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 3. LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT Sec. 10. QUORUM; ADJOURNMENTS FROM DAY TO DAY; COMPELLING ATTENDANCE. Two-thirds of each ...


45

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 president), and because the Trump administration interfered with transition process and demonstrated a marked lack of concern for governance (if not outright ...


43

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 dead of night and start passing laws. All the senators know when a vote is being held, and can attend or not. It is a public debate and a public vote. In the ...


42

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. City of New York in 1998 at the request of Rudy Giuliani and others. To pass it in a constitutional fashion would require a constitutional amendment, and ...


40

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 least not harm it. Less savory means include the bundling of donations from multiple sources for improved impact. Say there is a slump in the dairy industry. A ...


37

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 their opposition to the 20% corporation tax with the 20% AMT as it would essentially remove the tax benefits currently available for R&D funding and other tax-...


37

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 here have a connection to software engineering, the Constitution is viewed like a computer program, and the government is the hardware which runs that program. ...


32

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 Senate (unless it is filibustered, in which case 60 votes are required), plus the signature of the President: In effect, they made it surprisingly easy to add new ...


27

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 notes this rather large show-stopper [G]iven the science we have now, it would still require a significant number of failed human pregnancies, so many that ...


26

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 can be used to fill in those gaps. For example, the Constitution has only a few lines about elections. Consider that everything said about the House of ...


24

Because there are more effective ways for Her Majesty to change or veto laws. The Queen can indeed veto a law after it has passed the Houses of Parliament, but it would be ill-advised. Instead, she can use her considerable "soft power" to warn the Prime Minister of her disagreement with the law before it is voted upon. Such warnings are secret, but are ...


24

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 replacing it with new, immigration-related content. This isn't an amendment: it's replacing the current text of the bill with all-new text. This saves time for the ...


24

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 will have on voters. If I know that my key demographics believe strongly in something, regardless of the reality of the situation, then I would want to ...


24

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 that supports the bill, or to completely de-fang a bill by, for example, removing any enforcement power. The term for an amendment that is unrelated to the bill ...


17

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 Revenue clause, which states that all bills for raising revenue must originate within the House of Representatives. Note that despite the Senate seemingly being able ...


16

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 is greatly diminished. That won't stop someone or some organization from pursuing human cloning, but it will insure that the research centers of the EU and US ...


16

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 reading of the bill. All rules I've found regarding tabling of amendments simply refer to "members", making no other distinction. They might control the timings or ...


16

A tie does not necessitate the Vice President to be present in the Senate. Without the VP's vote, the motion will simply fail. However, if the VP wants to break the tie, the VP has to be present on the floor, as the Senate's presiding officer1. (1more on this in @Damila's answer) It's worth noting that the Vice President is the President of the Senate which ...


15

Yes, Supreme Court Justices have drafted and submitted bills to Congress. The Judiciary Act of 1925 has often been called "the Judge's Bill", because it was drafted by Supreme Court Justices Willis van Devanter, George Sutherland, and James McReynolds, along with Chief Justice William Howard Taft. The bill granted the Supreme Court substantially more ...


15

Another fantastic example of this phenomena comes from China. It is illegal to reincarnate there! Why would an officially atheist government pass such a law? Tibet. The Dalai Lama, the religious and cultural leader of Tibet, is said to be reincarnated. When the current Dalai Lama dies and "reincarnates", whoever claims to be the new Dalai Lama can be ...


14

The original business motion, which set out the schedule and rules for the Meaningful Vote on the Brexit deal (item 5 in the Votes and Proceedings from 4 Dec 2018) states that: (9) No motion to vary or supplement the provisions of this Order shall be made except by a Minister of the Crown; and the question on any such motion shall be put forthwith. This ...


14

Usually legislative bodies will have some sort of orientation handbook or process for newly elected members. In your example of New Hampshire this is actually written into legislation - Title 1 Chapter 17C of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes establishes a committee on legislator orientation with a responsibility: To prepare, print and distribute a ...


13

Puerto Rico would officially ask to become a state (customary but not explicitly constitutionally required). Congress could pass a law admitting it as a state. You can read more about that here, which was previously posted in a comment. It's unclear how this would have changed aid. In theory, states have more influence on the political process than do ...


13

I think the existing answer is a touch unclear; every Statutory Instrument can be said to "amend or repeal legislation, with varying degrees of parliamentary scrutiny" because secondary Legislation is legislation, so I wanted to go into a bit more detail about exactly what makes something a Henry VIII power as opposed to some form of secondary ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible