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How Our Laws Are Made


First published in 1953 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, this 21st edition of How Our Laws Are Made reflects changes in congressional procedures since the 20th edition, which was revised and updated in 1989 by the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives. This edition was prepared by the Office of the Parliamentarian of the U.S. House of Representatives in consultation with the Office of the Parliamentarian of the U.S. Senate.

The framers of our Constitution created a strong federal government resting on the concept of "separation of powers."

In Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution, the Legislative Branch is created by the following language: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."

Upon this elegant, yet simple, grant of legislative powers has grown an exceedingly complex and evolving legislative process. To aid the public's understanding of the legislative process, we have revised this popular brochure. For more detailed information on how our laws are made, the reader should refer to pertinent House and Senate publications for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Charles W. Johnson

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