Analyse the Reasons Why Congress Rejects More Legislation Than It Passes

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Analyse the reasons why Congress rejects more legislation than it passes [25 marks] One of the main congressional functions is the ability to introduce and pass legislation. Around 10,000-15,000 of bills are introduced in each congressional session but only 3-4% are successfully passed into law due to the lengthy and complex process. One of the main reasons why Congress rejects more legislation than it passes is because of the scrutiny a bill faces in the committee stages. Standing committees are permanent committees in both chambers of Congress who scrutinise, amend or reject bills. They conduct extensive research and hold hearings with a range of policy experts. Committee chairs are very important as they have the ability to choose which bills are moved on to next stage and which are pigeon-holed/amended. Bills are often chosen by chairs on ideological grounds i.e. Republican chairs will choose bills that appeal to their constituency or conservative ideology. If bills get past the committee stage, members can make influential recommendations as they are perceived to be policy specialists. This could mean it is harder to gather enough votes due to the range of evidence provided and therefore the bill can be rejected at the 2nd or 3rd readings. The issue of ‘pork-barrel’ politics also arises in the committee stage. Congressmen may insert ‘earmarks’ into bills, which is a provision that gives money to a particular Congressman’s state. In order for many bills to get passed there is often a need for compromise between members of Congress as such favours are often exchanged in order to gain crucial votes on legislation. This complicates and lengthens the legislative process because it could result in other Congressmen rejecting the bill. An example of such is in 2005, where a $223 million earmark was included in a bill to provide funding for reconstruction efforts
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