2020 FDL Conference: The New Orthodoxy: How Congress Passes Laws Now

  • Duration: 59 minutes
  • Date Recorded: October 22, 2020


FDLP Conference Banner 20202


2020 Federal Depository Library Conference


Title: The New Orthodoxy: How Congress Passes Laws Now


  • John Cannan, Faculty Scholarship Librarian, Law Library, Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law


How does Congress pass law today? Many researchers believe that Congress regularly uses unorthodox procedures to pass legislation. While this may be true of bills that are contentious and/or involve spending, my preliminary, in-depth research shows that Congress employs a more traditional approach for most of its legislative output. This process still resembles the “Schoolhouse Rock” vision of Congressional procedure, but with significant differences that can create pitfalls for legislative researchers. This presentation will give an overview of how legislation was passed from the 110th to 116th Congresses and patterns that demonstrate how orthodox or unorthodox Congressional procedures really are. The study that is a basis for this presentation was funded by a grant from AALL.

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