US Congress - Speed of Passing Legislation

This bill may have some personal relevance for me. I assume there is considerable variability in the legislative process, but if a bill was introduced in the US Senate on Oct. 20, 2011, roughly how long does it take to wind its way through the process into law. What is the likelihood that this could be in place by September 2012?

(I see in my own link that most bills don’t make it out of committee, but assuming it does, what’s a reasonable guess as to how long it will take?)

There is no way to tell. In the previous Congress (2009-2010), there were 10,629 bills introduced, and 383 made it into law. Parts of some bills may have made their ways into other bills that got passed, such as by amendments.

Without knowing anything about the political support that the bill has, it is most reasonable to assume that there is no timeline for taking action on it.

Even if the law were in place within a year, the actual implementation of its provisions can take even longer. Just think of the health care bill, where most of it won’t kick in until 2014.

Thank you! I’ll assume it won’t be something that will help me out.

Oooohhhh I get it. The VISIT USA act. We should pass it based on the name alone.

It depends on the political support, and perceived urgency of the bill.

For example, 70 years ago today, the US Declaration of War against Japan was passed within an hour after FDR’s Infamy Speech requested such a bill. (It took about 2-1/2 more hours to get the copies made, sealed, and signed by the President.) Formally done about 27 hours after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

On the other hand, the 27th Amendment (slightly more complicated) took from 1789 to 1992 to become law. Or you could say that most proposed bills take forever, in that they are never passed into law.

It would be more interesting to see how long it took the amendment resolution to pass both houses of Congress. It was the ratification process amongst the several states that took 203 years.

Are you in a persistent vegetative state? If you are, you could get a bill passed just for you in the space of hours. The president might even fly across the continent to sign it just for you!

The Declaration of War against Japan was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in several hours.

The ratification of the 27th Amendment requires agreement from the individual States.

Two different animals.

A bill to require school buses to stop at railroad crossings became a law in three minutes.