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Word Count: 471
When a Senator or a Representative introduces a bill he or she sends it to the clerk of his or her house who gives it a number and title This is the first reading and the bill is referred to the proper committee The committee may decide the bill is unwise or unnecessary and table it then killing it at once Or it may decide the bill is worthwhile and hold hearings to listen to facts and opinions presented by experts and or other interested persons After members of the committee have debated the bill and perhaps offered amendments a vote is taken and if the vote is favorable the bill is sent back to the floor of the house The clerk reads the bill sentence by sentence to the house and this is known as the second reading Members may then debate the bill and offer amendments In the House of Representatives the time for debate is limited by a cloture rule but there is no such restriction in a Senate for cloture where 60 votes are required This makes possible a filibuster in which one or more opponents hold the floor to defeat the bill The third reading is by title only and the bill is put to a vote which may be by voice or roll call depending on the circumstances and parliamentary rules Members who must be absent at the time but who wish to record their vote may be paired if each negative vote has a balancing affirmative one The bill then goes to another house of Congress where it may be defeated or passed with or without amendments If the bill is defeated it dies If it is passed with amendments a joint Congressional committee must be appointed by both houses to iron out the differences After its final passage by both houses the bill is sent to the president If he approves he signs it and the bill
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