Discharge Petition: A petition that if signed by a majority of the House (218 members) requires a bill to come out of a committee and be moved to the floor of the House.

Division 1

Types of Federal Agencies

Selected by majority party.
Majority Leader
Leads the party.
Majority Whip

Assists the leader, rounds up votes, heads large group of deputy and assistant whips.

Chairman of the Caucus
Presides over meetings of all members of the majority party.
Steering and Policy Committee
Schedules legislation, assigns members of the majority party to committees.
Republican/Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Provides funds, assistance to Republican/Democratic candidates for the House.
Minority Leader
Leads the party.
Minority Whip
Assists the leader, rounds up votes, heads large forum of deputy and assistant whips.
Chairman of the Conference
Presides over meetings of all members of the minority party.
Committee on Committees
Assigns members of the minority party to committees.
Policy Committee
Advises on party policy.
Research Committee
On request, provides information about issues.

25 (if not elected)
30 (if not elected)
US Citizen
7 years

9 years

State Inhabitant Where Elected
Custom - must live in district represented

On the federal level, many organizations, including UAPPEAL, utilize the help of a federal lobbyist to monitor and help them address federal legislation.  A federal lobbyist:

  • Provides inside information, including meetings and whether there is any interest in the bill,
  • Hand delivers packets and letters to federal legislators,
  • Allows you to influence amendments on federal bills,
  • Gets you a seat at federal committee hearings, which are often by invitation only,
  • Sets you up with meetings with federal committee members, and
  • Advises you on when and how to act on federal legislation.

On the federal level, citizen lobbyists need to contact legislators when advised by the federal lobbyist.


Part III


Qualifications for Entering Congress:

Major Differences between the Two Houses of Congress:

Part I

The Powers and Influence of U.S. Citizens

House Congressional Leadership:

There are two federal agencies that deal with native and exotic animals.  One is the U.S. Department of Agriculture which is for commercial activities involving exotic animals, and the other is the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service which is the one that introduced the generic tiger and captive chimp rules.   Learn about these federal agencies and their authority so you have a good understanding of the types of rules they can pass. 

     1.  Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

  • Branch of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • A license is required by APHIS if you engage in any commercial purpose

  • Does not issue licenses for keeping pets

  • Issues the following relevant commercial licenses:
    • Class A Breeder License – issued to breed and sell animals
    • Class B Dealer License – issued for wholesale and brokers
    • Class C Exhibitor License – issued to exhibit animals to the public

  • Relevant laws: Animal Welfare Act

  • www.aphis.usda.gov

     2. US Fish and Wildlife Services (US FWS)

  • Branch of United States Department of the Interior

  • Issues permits for threatened and endangered species and other protected species, and for international import and export

  • Relevant laws: Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, CITES, Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Wild Bird Conservation Act




Challenge of Committee Referrals
Almost always consider first
Easily Bypassed
Rules Committee
Powerful - Controls debate time, admissibility of amendments
Weak - Few limits
1 hour
Non-germane Amendments
Bans floor introduction
Allows floor introductions

A. Legislation is Introduced – Any member can introduce a piece of legislation. 

A bill or resolution is:

  • Introduced in either chamber,
  • Assigned a number,
  • Labeled with the sponsor’s name, and
  • Sent to the Government Printing Office (GPO) where copies are made


  • Senate bills can be jointly sponsored.
  • Members can co-sponsor the legislation

B. Committee Action – The bill is referred to the appropriate committee by the Speaker of the House or the presiding officer in the Senate (usually referral decision is made by the House or Senate parliamentarian).  Bills may be referred to more than one committee, and it may be split so that parts are sent to different committees.  The  Bills are placed on the calendar of the committee to which they have been assigned.  Failure to act on a bill is the equivalent of killing it. 

Special House Procedures:

  • Speaker of the House may set time limits on committees.
  • Bills with no proper committee vote can only be released from committee by a discharge petition.

Committee Steps:

  1. Comments about the bill’s merits are requested by government agencies.
  2. Bill can be assigned to a subcommittee by the chairman of committee.
  3. Hearings may be held.
  4. If sent to a subcommittee, findings are reported to the full committee.
  5. Finally, there is a vote by the full committee and the bill is “ordered to be reported.”    
  6. A committee will hold a “mark-up” session during which it will makes revisions and additions. If substantial amendments are made, the committee can order the introduction of a “clean bill” with the proposed amendments.  This new bill will have a new number and will be sent to the floor while the old bill is discarded.  All amendments must be approved by the full chamber before conducting a final passage vote on the bill.
  7. After the bill is reported from the committee, the committee staff prepares a written report explaining why they favor the bill and why they wish to see their amendments, if any, adopted.  Committee members who oppose a bill sometimes write a dissenting opinion in the report. 
  8. The report is then sent to the full chamber and is placed on the calendar.
  9. In the House, most bills go to the Rules Committee before reaching the floor where the committee adopts rules that will govern the procedures under which the bill will be considered by the House.  A “closed rule” sets strict time limits on debate and forbids the introduction of amendments.  These rules can have a major impact on whether the bill passes.  The rules committee can be bypassed in three ways: 1) members can move rules to be suspended (requires 2/3 vote), 2) a discharge petition can be filed, or 3) the House can use the Calendar Wednesday procedure.  

C. Floor Action

  1.  Legislation is placed on the calendar
    • House: Bills are placed on one of four House Calendars.  They are usually placed on the calendars in the order they are reported, yet they don’t usually come to the floor in this order – some bills may never reach the floor at all.  The Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader decide what will reach the floor and when.  (Legislation can also be brought to the floor by a discharge petition.)
    • Senate: Bills are placed on the Legislative Calendar.  Scheduling of legislation is the job of the Majority Leader.  Bills can be brought to the floor whenever a majority of the Senate chooses.

      2. Debate

  • House: The Committee of the Whole debates and amends the bill but cannot technically pass it.   After debate, the bill is reported back to the House (to itself) and is voted on. There is a quorum call to make sure that there are enough members present (218) to have a final vote.  If not, the House will adjourn or will round up missing members.


     3. Vote - The bill is voted on: 

  • If passed: Sent to the other chamber unless that chamber already has a similar measure under consideration. 
  • If not passed - bill dies. 

     4. Other Chamber

  • If House and Senate pass the same bill - Sent to the President. 
  • If the House and Senate pass different bills - Sent to a Conference Committee (most major legislation does). 
  • If other chamber does NOT pass bill - Bill dies.

   5. Conference Committee

  • Members from each chamber form a conference committee and meet to work out the differences (usually senior members appointed by the original committees). 
  • Each side works to maintain their version of the bill. 
  • If the Conference Committee reaches a compromise - written conference report is submitted to each chamber.
  • The conference report must be approved by both the House and Senate.

    6.  President – The bill is sent to the President for review.

  • Sign into Law - Bill becomes law.

  •  No Action (within 10 and Congress is in session) - bill becomes law. 

  • No action (Congress adjourns before the 10 days) - Does not become law (“pocket veto”). 

  •  Veto - Sent back to Congress with a note listing the reasons.  The chamber that the bill originated in can attempt to override the veto by a vote of 2/3 of those present.  If the veto of the bill is overridden in both chambers then it becomes law.

    7. Bill Becomes a Law – Once a bill is signed by the President or the veto is overridden by both chambers, it becomes a law and is assigned an official number.


Senate Congressional Leadership:

Part II


Division 2

Addressing Federal Agency Rules

Limited (Rules Committee)
Unlimited  (until motion made)

Can be irrelevant  (entire bills as amendments)

Speaking Time
Limited (decided by committee)
Unlimited (can be "talked to death")
Equal Time

A. Monitor for Any Proposed Rules. When a federal agency introduces a proposed rule, they are published in the Federal Register.  A listing of proposed rules from each agency can be found here.  

  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA)


  •  US Fish and Wildlife Services (US FWS)


B. Submit Comments on the Proposed Rules.  Oftentimes, federal agencies provide a public comment period where members can submit feedback on proposed rules.  To submit comments on proposed rules for both agencies, go to

Part IV


Selected by majority party.  Usually most senior member of the Senate majority party.
Majority Leader
Leads the party.
Majority Whip

Assists the leader, rounds up votes, heads groups of deputy whips.

Chairman of the Conference
Presides over meetings of all members of the Senate majority party.
Policy Committee
Schedules legislation
Legislative Review Committee
Reviews legislative proposals and makes recommendations to senators of the majority party.
Steering Committee
Assigns senators of the majority party to committees.
Republican/Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Provides funds, assistance to Republican/Democratic candidates for the Senate
Minority Leader
Leads the party.
Assistant Minority Leader
Assists the leader, rounds up votes.
Chairman of the Conference
Presides over meetings of all senators of the minority party.
Policy Committee
Makes recommendations on party policy.
Committee on Committees
Assigns senators of the minority party to committees.