US Capitol Building

Unit II  Policy Making Institutions

Essential Question: How are power and responsibility distributed, shared, and limited in the government established by the United States Constitution?
How Congress Works




Intro The Legislative Branch


  1. What is the structure of Congress?
  2. What are the responsibilities of Members of Congress?
  3. How does Congress make laws?
  4. Begin researching topic of interest
2 3

 Legislative Branch

How a bill becomes a law

econgress activity:

Explore national issues of interest through web-based research in order to determine if your topic of interest for creating an original piece of legislation is:

  • constitutional
  •  appealing

Complete sections 1-5  in the research guide by the end of class.

HW: complete step 6: identify a member of congress who would most likely sponsor your bill.

4 5

Legislative Branch

How a bill becomes a law

econgress activity: Fiscal Impact of your Bill

Legislative Branch

CSS Standard: Students will apply knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, how the U.S. system of government works and how the rule of law and the values of liberty and equality have an impact on individual, local, state and national decisions.

School of Rock - Iím Just A Bill




Sample Bills from 2006 econgress

  • Sample Bill Assessments


  1. Characteristics of effective legislation
  2. Components of a bill and fiscal impact

Understand: that effective legislation requires sound research; is original, states a purpose related to contemporary issue and that the author's   political ideology must  align with the  goals of the Bill.

Do: evaluate sample bills using the rubric and justify responses; write your bill!

HW: Letter  Due

10  11

1st draft of you bill is due today:

  1. Self Assess using the the bill review guide and the Peer/Self Edit and Revise using project rubric
  2. Final changes/research

Your final drafts should be in the table format shown in the samples

Bills Due Monday

Crystal Ball 15 Bills Due Today
  • Committee Review: Pass, Fail, Amend or Table?

HW: You must research the bills in need of amending or that have been tabled.

  • Identify the area of the bill in question and note why it was tabled or voted to amend.
  • Research the topic and bring findings to class Wed. Bills will be "marked-up" and presented with the changes. Remember that if you voted "fail" or "table" you want to find support for your decision as well so that when it comes up for a 2nd vote you too have stronger evidence.

Please re-print and bring a clean copy of your bills to class for Wed

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"There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees." - Michel de Montaigne

Return to Committee and resume bill review.

  • Present new legislation
  • review/represent amended bills

By the end of class you must choose your top 2 bills to be sent to a joint subcommittee.

HW: ALL bills must be "cleaned-up" based on committee changes and turned in with your original. Top 2 must be emailed to me by Friday morning so that I can make copies for the class.



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Subcommittee Session

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  • Quiz on Law Making Process:

I. Review How Congress Works


  1. House/Senate
  • Demographics
  • "many hats" of congressmen/women
  • How many members in the Senate/House?
  • Why?

  2. Committees

  • Joint Committee
  • Standing Committee
  • Special Committee
  • Whips
  1. Discretionary vs. Mandatory Spending

II. Review Legislative Branch (not responsible for "types" slides) and econgress

  • Know how a bill becomes law

III. Health Care Reform

  • When introduced/passed
  • 2 obstacles and their outcomes
  • 2 examples of political fall-out

Begin Executive Branch

The United States Constitution: Article II; Section 1 (excerpts)'


Who can be President?

DO: Review the attached and note the presidents who did not meet the unofficial requirement for becoming president. Identify the president, characteristic not met and dates of presidency.  




Executive Branch

Executive Branch Interactive Power Point:

Review the above power point and complete the following:

  1. Know the roles powers of the president!
  2. How has President Obama exhibited the roles of the president?
  3. Research and identify when, how and why President Obama used his executive powers.