What Did Saunders Get Wrong About How A Bill Is Passed In Mr. Smith?

For AP Students who were’t paying attention during the movie and who are googling what mistakes Sauders made when describing how a bill becomes a law to Jeff Smith in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

The Transcript:

JEFFERSON
(laughing a little)
Oh—dinner. Yes. Well, I’m hungry,
too. I thought—maybe—we could have
something brought in—you know, like
big executives who eat off trays.
You see, we’ve got to light into
this and get it going—

SAUNDERS
Uh-huh. Well, dinner comes in on
trays. We’re executives. And we light
into this. It is dawn. Your Bill is
ready. You go over there and introduce
it—

JEFFERSON
How?

SAUNDERS
You get to your feet in the Senate
and present it. Then you take the
Bill and put it in a little box—
like a letter box—on the side of
the rostrum. Just hold it between
thumb and forefinger and drop it in.
Clerks read it and refer it to the
right committee—

JEFFERSON
Committee, huh?

SAUNDERS
Committee.

JEFFERSON
Why?

SAUNDERS
That’s how Congress—or any large
body—is run. All work has to be
done by committee.

JEFFERSON
Why?

SAUNDERS
Look—committees—small groups of
Senators—have to sift a Bill down—
look into it—study it—and report
to the whole Senate. You can’t take
a Bill no one knows anything about
and discuss it among ninety-six men.
Where would you get?

JEFFERSON
Yes, I see that.

SAUNDERS
Good. Where are we?

JEFFERSON
Some committee’s got it.

SAUNDERS
Yes. They give it to a *sub*-
committee, where they really give it
a going over—hold hearings—call in
people and ask questions—then report
back to the bigger committee—where
it’s considered some more, changed,
amended, or whatever. Days are going
by, Senator. Days—weeks. Finally,
they think it’s quite a Bill. It
goes over to the House of
Representatives for debate and a
vote. *But* it’s got to wait its
turn on the calendar—

JEFFERSON
Calendar?

SAUNDERS
That’s the order of business. Your
Bill has to stand *way* back there
in line unless the Steering Committee
decides it is important enough to be—

JEFFERSON
What’s that?

SAUNDERS
What?

JEFFERSON
The Steering Committee.

SAUNDERS
(depressed)
Do you really think we’re getting
anywhere.

JEFFERSON
Yes. Sure. What’s a Steering
Committee?

SAUNDERS
A committee of the majority party
leaders. They decide when a Bill is
important enough to be moved up toward
the head of the list—

JEFFERSON
*This* is.

SAUNDERS
Pardon me—*this* is. Where are we
now?

JEFFERSON
We’re over in the House.

SAUNDERS
Yes. House. More amendments—more
changes—and the Bill goes back to
the Senate—and *waits its turn on
the calendar again*. The Senate
doesn’t like what the house did to
the Bill. They make more changes.
The House doesn’t like *those*
changes. Stymie. So they appoint men
from each house to go into a huddle
called a conference and battle it
out. Besides that, all the lobbyists
interested give cocktail parties for
and against—government departments
get in their two cents’ worth—cabinet
members—budget bureaus—embassies.
Finally, if the Bill is alive after
all this vivisection, it comes to a
vote. Yes, sir—the big day finally
arrives. And—nine times out of ten,
they vote it down.
(Taking a deep breath)
Are you catching on, Senator?

JEFFERSON
Yes. Shall we start on it right now—
or order dinner first?

SAUNDERS
(mouth drops open)
Pardon?

JEFFERSON
I said—shall we get started *now*
or—

SAUNDERS
(weakly)
Yes—sure. Why not?
(Then, very tired)
You don’t mind if I take the time to
get a pencil?

She turns mechanically and heads for the outer office.

_______


Here’s a good reference for how a bill becomes a law.

Remember, that omitting a detail is not necessarily a mistake. Saunders was summarizing.

February 5, 2015 |  Category: Politics
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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The Probability of Competing In Sports Beyond High School

As a teacher, I have often heard students tell me that they don’t need to learn anything in school because they’re “going pro” in one sport or another. I have always pointed out that it is an incredibly short-sighted strategy because the odds of making it to the pros are incredibly slim.

I just never knew exactly how slim. Now I do. Here’s a chart from the NCAA:

Those are not good odds, and it backs up a line of questioning I have always used to disabuse them of their notions:

“Do you know anyone in this school who is better than you are in (say) basketball? If you do, you’re already done.”

March 12, 2014 |  Category: Education
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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Camera and Photo Warehouse Sale At Amazon

Camera and Photo Warehouse deals

Lots of good stuff here.

November 13, 2013 |  Category:
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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Holiday Electronics Gift Guide

November 6, 2013 |  Category: Bargains
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Abadak Covers The World

As I sit here watching the snow fall, I am reminded that I meant to get a cover for a variety of things in the backyard: the grill, the wheelbarrow and the deck chest among them. It’s a little late now, I’m putting it on my list of things to do at the first sign of a thaw.

Abadak is an online superstore for covers of all sorts—not only for grills, boats, cars and the like, but also for things I never thought about. They’ve got tree and bush covers, for example. It sounds silly, but Mrs. GolfBlogger puts covers over her roses to protect them from the Michigan cold.

It just goes to show that you can find anything on the web.

This has been a paid post.

January 21, 2013 |  Category: Bargains
Posted By The Original Golf Blogger

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