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Legislative Center

The chief function of Congress is to make laws. The legislative process comprises a number of steps. On this page, you can find links to resources and information concerning legislation introduced and considered in Congress. The Library of Congress provides an in-depth description of the legislative process in How Our Laws are Made and Enactment of a Law. The Clerk of the House describes how laws are made for young learners, grade schoolers, middle schoolers, and high school students.

Committees

The House of Representatives divides its work among over twenty permanent and standing committees. After a bill is introduced on the House or Senate floor, it is normally referred to the committee of jurisdiction (the committee charged with reviewing measures in the area of law or policy with which the bill is concerned). The committee of referral most often sends the measure to its specialized subcommittee(s) for study, hearings, revisions, and approval.

For most bills, the committee or subcommittee fails to take further action on the referred bill, effectively "killing" the measure at this point. Occasionally, a committee will report a measure "unfavorably," with explicit recommendations against its passage, or it will report a bill "without recommendation," which has the same effect as an unfavorable report. If the bill passes the subcommittee with a favorable vote, it is sent back to the full committee for further consideration, hearings, amendment, and vote.

Normally, before a piece of legislation is considered by the House, it has been reviewed by at least one of the committees, and that committee has issued a report describing the legislation and indicating (on a section-by-section basis) how the proposed statute changes existing statutes.

Federal Laws

The U.S. Code is the official compilation of the current Federal statutes of a general and permanent nature, arranged by subject. The Code is arranged according to subject matter under 54 subject headings ('titles'). The Code sets out the current status of our laws, incorporating all amendments into the text. Prior to being added to the U.S. Code, individual laws are published in pamphlet form as "slip laws" which are later collected together in chronological order (not in subject order) as the Statutes at Large.

Proceedings of the House

A live video stream of the House floor is available on HouseLive. A text summary of what is currently happening on the Floor of the House is available from the Clerk of the House as the debate occurs. The Congressional Record—the official transcript of the proceedings and debates of the U.S. Congress—is published the day after each meeting of the House or Senate. You can also view the current House Schedule.

Roll Call Votes

A roll call vote records how each Member of the House voted, but only a minority of bills receive a roll call vote.  Learn how to read the roll call information.

Rules and Precedents of the House

The House Rules and Precedents are the official documents that spell out the process by which legislation is considered by the House and its committees; as well as specifying the authority of the officers and committees of the House. Several collections of material explaining the rules and precedents are available through the House Rules Committee. The Parliamentarian of the House, who provides guidance on parliamentary procedure and precedents to Members, offers an overview of rules and precedents in the House.

Schedules of the House

Various schedules of upcoming House activities are available. You can find schedules of the House published by Congressional leadership at https://www.majorityleader.gov/floor-resources/the-daily-leader and https://www.majoritywhip.gov/?post_type=daily-whipline.

Sponsored and Co-sponsored Legislation

Before a proposed piece of legislation can be considered by the House of Representatives, it must first be sponsored by a Member of Congress (either a Member of the House or a Member of the Senate).  Members of Congress who are not the primary sponsor of a piece of legislation may express their strong support for the legislation by becoming a co-sponsor of that legislation. Learn more about legislation sponsored and co-sponsored by Congressman Doggett.

Currently in Congress

On the House Floor

Current House Proceedings Provided by the Clerk: You can see updated text summaries of floor procedures when the House of Representatives is in session. If you are watching House floor proceedings live on CSPAN, use your web browser's "refresh" function periodically. Updates will appear in reverse chronological order.

Live Video Footage Provided by C-SPAN: Watch actual House proceedings live on your home, office, or classroom computer via C-SPAN's website.

Legislative Schedules

The Democratic Whip publishes a schedule of legislation the House intends to consider for the current day and week ahead, in addition to a summary of what was voted on each day:

Daily Leader Report
The Weekly Leader Report

Other Congressional Information

House Committee: Links for the standing Committees, Joint Committees, and Select Committees.

Senate Website: The Senate website contains information on its current floor schedule. Additionally, in the Legislation and Records section, you can access information about recent Senate legislative activity and votes.

Legislative Process

Tying It All Together: An explanation of the legislative process.

How Our Laws Are Made: A detailed description of how a bill becomes a law.

The Declaration of Independence: The full text of the Declaration of Independence.

The Constitution of the United States: The full text of the U.S. Constitution.

Reading Roll Call Votes

Follow the steps listed below to look up Rep. Doggett's votes or votes cast by any Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Step 1

Please visit the Legislation and Votes web page at the Clerk of the House website.  The following web page (or similar) will display:

How to Read Roll Call Votes on Clerk Website

Under the "Roll Call Votes" heading, choose the link of the appropriate Congress and Session to view roll call votes for that session. In addition to the current Session of Congress you will also have the option to select and view roll call votes from previous sessions of Congress.

Step 2

Once you have selected the Congress and Session you want, a web page similar to the following will display:

'U.S. House of Representative Roll Call Votes' page from the House Clerk's website.  Features a six column table.  The first column (Roll) has the roll call vote number.  The second column (Date) has the date of the vote.  The third column (Issue) has the

The far left column labeled "Roll" will give you the number of the roll call vote. In the next column to the right, you see the date the vote was cast.  The "Question" tells you if the vote was on final passage, on an amendment, or as otherwise noted. The "Result" is the outcome: P=passed, F=failed, and A=the amendment was agreed to. The next column tells you the title/description of the measure. All votes are posted in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top).

Step 3

Click on the appropriate "Roll" number on the same row as the title/description that you are interested in.  If you are interested in a vote taken in a different year, move to the bottom of the screen and simply click on a different set of roll call votes.

Step 4

A web page similar to the following will display:

'U.S. House of Representative Roll Call Votes' page from the House Clerk's website.  Features a six column table.  The first column (Roll) has the roll call vote number.  The second column (Date) has the date of the vote.  The third column (Issue) has the

The far left column labeled "Roll" will give you the number of the roll call vote. In the next column to the right, you see the date the vote was cast.  The "Question" tells you if the vote was on final passage, on an amendment, or as otherwise noted. The "Result" is the outcome: P=passed, F=failed, and A=the amendment was agreed to. The next column tells you the title/description of the measure. All votes are posted in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top).

Sponsored Legislation

Bills introduced by Congressman Doggett

Bills cosponsored by Congressman Doggett