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Citizenship

Friday, April 11th, 2014

The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.
– Alexis de Tocqueville

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How a Bill Becomes a Law

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Creating laws is the U.S. House of Representatives’ most important job. All laws in the United States begin as bills. Before a bill can become a law, it must be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and the President. Let’s follow a bill’s journey to become law.

The Bill Begins

Laws begin as ideas. These ideas may come from a Representative—or from a citizen like you. Citizens who have ideas for laws can contact their Representatives to discuss their ideas. If the Representatives agree, they research the ideas and write them into bills.

The Bill Is Proposed

When a Representative has written a bill, the bill needs a sponsor. The Representative talks with other Representatives about the bill in hopes of getting their support for it. Once a bill has a sponsor and the support of some of the Representatives, it is ready to be introduced.

The Bill Is Introduced

  The Hopper

In the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill is introduced when it is placed in the hopper—a special box on the side of the clerk’s desk. Only Representatives can introduce bills in the U.S. House of Representatives.

When a bill is introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill clerk assigns it a number that begins with H.R. A reading clerk then reads the bill to all the Representatives, and the Speaker of the House sends the bill to one of the House standing committees.

The Bill Goes to Committee

When the bill reaches committee, the committee members—groups of Representatives who are experts on topics such as agriculture, education, or international relations—review, research, and revise the bill before voting on whether or not to send the bill back to the House floor.

If the committee members would like more information before deciding if the bill should be sent to the House floor, the bill is sent to a subcommittee. While in subcommittee, the bill is closely examined and expert opinions are gathered before it is sent back to the committee for approval.

The Bill Is Reported

When the committee has approved a bill, it is sent—or reported—to the House floor. Once reported, a bill is ready to be debated by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Bill Is Debated

When a bill is debated, Representatives discuss the bill and explain why they agree or disagree with it. Then, a reading clerk reads the bill section by section and the Representatives recommend changes. When all changes have been made, the bill is ready to be voted on.

The Bill Is Voted On

  Electronic Voting Machine

There are three methods for voting on a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives:

  1. Viva Voce (voice vote): The Speaker of the House asks the Representatives who support the bill to say “aye” and those that oppose it say “no.”
  2. Division: The Speaker of the House asks those Representatives who support the bill to stand up and be counted, and then those who oppose the bill to stand up and be counted.
  3. Recorded: Representatives record their vote using the electronic voting system. Representatives can vote yes, no, or present (if they don’t want to vote on the bill).

If a majority of the Representatives say or select yes, the bill passes in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is then certified by the Clerk of the House and delivered to the U.S. Senate.

The Bill Is Referred to the Senate

When a bill reaches the U.S. Senate, it goes through many of the same steps it went through in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is discussed in a Senate committee and then reported to the Senate floor to be voted on.

Senators vote by voice. Those who support the bill say “yea,” and those who oppose it say “nay.” If a majority of the Senators say “yea,” the bill passes in the U.S. Senate and is ready to go to the President.

The Bill Is Sent to the President

When a bill reaches the President, he has three choices. He can:

  1. Sign and pass the bill—the bill becomes a law.
  2. Refuse to sign, or veto, the bill—the bill is sent back to the U.S. House of Representatives, along with the President’s reasons for the veto. If the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate still believe the bill should become a law, they can hold another vote on the bill. If two-thirds of the Representatives and Senators support the bill, the President’s veto is overridden and the bill becomes a law.
  3. Do nothing (pocket veto)—if Congress is in session, the bill automatically becomes law after 10 days. If Congress is not in session, the bill does not become a law.

The Bill Is a Law

If a bill has passed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and has been approved by the President, or if a presidential veto has been overridden, the bill becomes a law and is enforced by the government.

Glossary

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For Teachers

Looking to bring the U.S. House of Representatives into your Grade School classroom? Visit our For Teachers section for resources, activities, and lesson plans that complement the material on this site.

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Class of 2013 at The Ohio State University

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address during The Ohio State University (May 5, 2013)President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address during The Ohio State University commencement at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, May 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Ohio State University is an institution that dedicates itself to “Education for Citizenship” — the Buckeye motto emblazoned on the school seal.

So when President Obama spoke to the Class of 2013 at the school’s graduation, citizenship was his theme.

“As citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us,” he said. “It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And, Class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process.”

The President made a pitch for civic connection — for participation in public life, for engagement in national debates, for community service. He pointed to those who stand up in moments of crisis — running toward the damage inflicted by the bombs in Boston to care for survivors, helping neighbors dig out from Hurricane Sandy last fall — as examples.

“We’ve seen courage and compassion, a sense of civic duty, and a recognition we are not a collection of strangers; we are bound to one another by a set of ideals and laws and commitments, and a deep devotion to this country that we love,” he said. “And that’s what citizenship is.”

Above all, he urged survivors to break through the cycle of cynicism that too often cripples progress in this country.

“Only you can make sure the democracy you inherit is as good as we know it can be,” President Obama told the graduates. “But it requires your dedicated, and informed, and engaged citizenship. And that citizenship is a harder, higher road to take, but it leads to a better place.”

 

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Elected

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
Alice Cooper Today

Alice Cooper On Tour

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — In 1972, Alice Cooper ran against Richard Nixon for President of the United States. Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier on February 4, 1948. Originally, Alice Cooper was the name of the band with Furnier on vocals and harmonica, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and drummer Neal Smith. In 1975, Vincent adopted the band name as his own.

Songwriters: BUXTON, EDWARD / BRUCE, MICHAEL / DUNAWAY, DENNIS / SMITH, NEAL / COOPER, ALICE
I’m your top prime cut of meat, I’m your choice,
I wanna be elected,
I’m your yankee doodle dandy in a gold Rolls Royce,
I wanna be elected,
Kids want a saviour, don’t need a fake,
I wanna be elected,
We’re all gonna rock to the rules that I make,
I wanna be elected, elected, elected.

I never lied to you, I’ve always been cool,
I wanna be elected,
I gotta get the vote, and I told you ’bout school,
I wanna be elected, elected, elected,
Hallelujah, I wanna be selected,
Everyone in the United States of America.

We’re gonna win this one, take the country by storm,
We’re gonna be elected,
You and me together, young and strong,
We’re gonna be elected, elected, elected,
Respected, selected, call collected,
I wanna be elected, elected.

“And if I am elected
I promise the formation of a new party
A third party, the Wild Party!
I know we have problems,
We got problems right here in Central City,
We have problems on the North, South, East and West,
New York City, Saint Louis, Philadelphia, Los Angeles,
Detroit, Chicago,
Everybody has problems,
And personally, I don’t care.”

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Pennsylvania Kids and the Election

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Dear friend of liberty,

I’m disappointed to tell you that two weeks ago the Pennsylvania state Senate voted to criminalize Pennsylvania’s teenagers for the very human experience of coming to terms with their sexuality.

In a move that showed more concern for what occurs in our teens’ bedrooms than for real criminals, the Senate passed legislation to criminalize underage teens for “sexting,” the electronic distribution of semi-nude, nude, or sexually explicit images.

Would you like to find out if your state senator was one of 12 senators who voted against this bill? You should then take one minute to contact your state senator and share your feelings about the vote on the sexting bill.

Incredibly, the bill, which was signed by Governor Corbett last week, even criminalizes victims of abuse. For example, a teen could produce a picture of herself or himself in a state of semi-nudity and send it to one other person, such as a dating partner. If that picture is later distributed to others against the will of the person in the photo, she is still guilty of a crime, compounding her suffering as a victim.

This is a public health issue that is best handled by parents and child development professionals, not the government and not district attorneys. Tell your state senator that you support civil liberties and Pennsylvania’s kids.

In liberty,

Andy Hoover
Legislative Director
ACLU of PA
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Happy Birthday Young Americans For Liberty!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

December 2, 2009

Dear Subscriber,

One year ago today Ron Paul endorsed Young Americans for Liberty and launched the youth R3volution.

Today is truly a cause for celebration!

For the first time, a youth movement dedicated to the ideals of freedom, peace, and prosperity thrives in America. And our growth has only begun.

Founded with Campaign for Liberty’s support, a network of Ron Paul youth, and a vision to educate and train the next generation of Constitutionalists, YAL is here to stay!

Please join me today by wishing the thousands of dedicated YAL members and chapters a very Happy 1st Birthday and give a gift of $25, $50, or $100.

Your investment celebrates YAL’s first-year successes and supports a generation of youth activists committed to the Constitution.

I’m extraordinarily grateful for the thousands of YAL members, chapters, and donors who believe in our mission and support our daily efforts. Thank you for a blessed first year.

As Ron Paul stated one year ago today, The importance of YAL to the future of liberty cannot be overstated.

Here’s to victory in 2010!

For liberty,

Jeff Frazee
Executive Director, YAL

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Gen Y – the Libertarian Generation?

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Garry Reed – Dallas Libertarian Examiner

A recent Libertarian Party of Texas news release began, “Three highly-regarded national polls have confirmed a growing Libertarian trend in U.S. politics.”

The Pew Research Center annual report on political values and trends concluded, “these independents are more likely to be economically conservative and socially tolerant.”

In simple lay terms, that defines libertarians.

The Washington Post/ABC poll reported, “87% of Americans are concerned by the growing federal deficit, and 53% were not confident in the government’s ability to cut wasteful spending in the President’s economic recovery package.”

Which is another way of saying that a majority of Americans take the libertarian view on these issues.

A Rasmussen Reports poll discovered that “Fifty-nine percent (59%) of politically independent Americans viewed ‘big government’ as the greatest threat” to the country in the future, as opposed to big business or big labor.

Again consistent with libertarian philosophy.

So what does this have to do with Gen Y?

Consider just one source, an opinion piece in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel by Jim Burkee, The Liberty-loving Gen-Yers will reshape politics.

The demographic that voted for Democrats 2-to-1 were young people between 18 and 29, the leading edge of those born between 1980 and 1995, who are now being tagged as Generation Y.

But Burkee warns the Dems: “While they seem to lean to the left, they’re actually more libertarian than liberal, a fact that will reshape the way we think about liberalism and conservatism in decades to come.”

Burkee’s assessment of the Y’s guys and gals is a daisy-chained litany of libertarian leanings:

“…the most liberty-loving generation since the era of Andrew Jackson…In short, they love their freedom…more likely to see all politicians as corrupt…support liberalization of drug laws…less likely to support restrictions on immigration…they are also free-traders…supportive of globalization…support proposals to privatize Social Security…”

And just for good measure… “It’s the classical liberalism of Milton Friedman, who argued that political and economic freedom are deeply interrelated – that one cannot exist without the other. They’ve grown up with that kind of freedom, and as voting adults, they have come to expect it.”

Sounds pretty exciting for the cause of real freedom in the near future, right?

Unfortunately, Jesse Walker, writing for the libertarian website reasononline, also read the Jim Burkee bit and asks the elder cohort of freedom fomenters, “Sound familiar?”

Walker then cites (1) a 1986 book brought out by the libertarian Cato Institute describing Baby Boomers as “economically conservative but socially liberal” (there’s those libertarianish waffle words again) and (2) a 1995 USA Today print piece claiming that many Gen-Xers reject politics and “lean libertarian.”

So why hasn’t the country become an Anarcho-Capitalist Libertarian utopia already?

While optimism is always preferred, any recipe that calls for baking a future libertarian pie-in-the-sky needs to be taken with that pessimist’s favorite ingredient, a pinch of salt.

Still, the prospect of offering up the just desserts of humble pie to freedom’s enemies would be a dish happily served by libertarians, cold or otherwise.

If the Gen Y-ers really are libertarianesk, let’s whet their appetites for more.

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Young American’s For Liberty

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Dear Friend of Liberty,

Today, I’m thrilled to inform you of two major announcements from Young Americans for Liberty.

On the heels of a semester of overwhelming success, my staff and I have not wasted a moment to prepare for the battles that lie ahead.  In fact, we are working overtime this summer to develop our plan of action for the coming school year.

And let’s not forget, campaign season is right around the corner.

That’s why Young Americans for Liberty is taking full advantage of this summer.

As we kick into high-gear, I’m proud to announce that YAL is launching a groundbreaking new website!

Phase 1 of the website will launch July 1, just in time for Independence Day.  This will be the first step in developing an extensive grassroots-based online platform that gives our chapters and youth activists the tools to advance liberty on their campuses.

You can receive up-to-the-minute alerts on our website launch by signing up for Young Americans for Liberty email reports.

Please keep up with YAL by signing up for these alerts at www.yaliberty.org.

To excite you with our early progress, I’d like to give you a sneak peek of the homepage of our new website.  We’re still working out the kinks, but I think you will be very impressed with the design.  Click here to check it out.

Aside from our impressive new website, I’m especially pleased to announce the 2009 YAL National Convention in Arlington, VA, July 30 – August 2.

The first-ever YAL National Convention is a very intimate, three-day event bringing together the top youth activists from across the country to receive the best political training available.

Now is the time to prepare for the 2010 election cycle, and YAL’s expert teachers will equip you with the skills to win elections for liberty candidates.

If you are a member of YAL, you are invited to apply for an exclusive seat at the convention.  Only 50 of the top youth activists in the country will be accepted to attend.

To apply, please fill out the application here.

A full schedule of the YAL National Convention will be released shortly, and it will include a very special keynote speaker.  It’s an event you won’t want to miss!

Thanks to our generous donors, ticket prices are only $30, and attendees will receive free lodging, meals, training, and supplies at the convention.  All you have to do is get there.

Needless to say, we are building quickly on last semester’s success.  Your support of Young Americans for Liberty makes these efforts possible, and for that I am forever grateful.

My staff and I will continue working long hours this summer to prepare for the upcoming school year and the 2010 election season.

Please be sure to visit our new website when it launches July 1st and apply for the 2009 YAL National Convention to receive the best political training around.

For liberty,

Jeff Frazee
Executive Director, YAL
jeff.frazee@yaliberty.org

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