Also, OV: David asked about co-sponsors, not conversations. Stick to the facts. If you don't know, then tell him to look it up himself. Ok, I will: David: Look it up yourself, and keep us posted. It would be nice to know who is co-sponsoring Hutchinson's bill.
Having worked on campaigns for bills that became law, my experience was that the people working on the campaigns updated co-sponsorship as it happened. In this case, there are still no co-sponsors for S3038, which is a very bad sign for prospects for enactment of this particular legislation.
This doesn't mean that there are no negotiations with the Administration concerning Shuttle extension and the like, just that this particular bill seems to be DOA. Probably we should close this thread soon, and have a new topic about negotiations, since if there are no discussions about the bill here, its a dead thread.
(It's Hutchison, not Hutchinson, by the way).I responded to this issue of cosponsors in an earlier post, which you may have missed, but since you keep raising it, let me elaborate a bit.
First, a simple statement of observed experience
, based on my thirty-plus years of working in the Congress: the number of cosponsors of a bill is NOT a determining factor in passage of a bil
l. I have seen many bills with an actual majority of members cosponsoring them, which have never even been reported our of committee. I have seen even more bills with either no or very few cosponsors get enacted into law.
Maybe one pertinent example might help illustrate how that can be. Look up in the Library of Congress Thomas web-site the bill S. 3270, the "NASA Authorization Act of 2008." It was introduced by Senator Daniel Inouye, with no cosponsors. It will show, if you check the legislative history, that the bill was reported by the Commerce Committee, placed on the Senate Calendar, and no further action was taken on that bill. Did it "die" because of a lack of cosponsors? No...the majority of the content of S. 3270 is now Public Law 110-422.
How? Because the House had passed its version of a NASA Authorization Act (HR 6063) (either House can originate such a bill) before the Senate Bill was reported, so that bill had been referred to the Senate for action. The "action" taken by the Senate, starting around July 12th, was to undertake a process called "pre-conferencing".
Normally, if each chamber passes its own version of a given bill, then a "conference" is conducted, in which representatives of the committees of jurisdiction in each chamber are named "conferees" and essentially authorized to represent their respective chambers in seeking to negotiate a compromise that modifies the underlying legislation (either the House version or the Senate version) in such a way that both are satisfied with the result. They then file a "conference report" with their respective chambers outlining the changes agreed to in conference, and recommend adoption of the conference report. If both chambers vote to adopt the conference report, the underlying bill, as modified by the conferees, is adopted, and sent to the President.
Under a "preconference" process, those negotiations take place BEFORE one the of the two chambers actually passes a bill. That's what happened in the case of the 2008 NASA Authorization bill. The House Science Committee, which had produced and reported the bill HR 6063, took the language of S. 3270 that it was "comfortable" with (or knew the Senate would insist upon), and the language of HR 6063, which the House had passed, and combined them into a proposed REVISED version of HR 6063 (since they had passed a bill, it was the House bill number that was used to designate the compromise language).
The proposed revision was presented to the Senate--all this at the staff level, initially--and there ensured a series of meetings and discussions which led to a compromise bill, which included most parts of both the House-passed bill and the Senate-reported bill, rewritten, where necessary, with language both could agree upon, which was then presented to the Members (in this case, primarily the Committee leadership of the House Science Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee, whether cosponsors or not) and agreed to, in principal. Then the House waited while the Senate went through the process of clearing and adopting (by unanimous consent) the modified House-passed bill. Since the modifications to the original House bill had been "preconferenced", the House then was able to simply accept the Senate-passed version, and send the bill to the President for signature, which he signed on October 15th, 2008, as I recall.
None of this process was "extraordinary" and NONE of it depended on the number of cosponsors either bill had upon introduction.
The Hutchison Bill, by its very structure, is written so as to be the "core" of a broader NASA Authorization Bill, and it is fully planned and expected, going in, that it will likely be "absorbed" into that larger NASA Authorization Bill, which will likely be reported by the Commerce Committee, once it is satisfied with it, and it goes through the process known as "mark-up" (amendment and endorsement by the Committee) as a new and separate bill.
But that new and separate could (and Senator Hutchison of course would hope and will work to that end) include virtually every word of the bill now known as S. 3068. So, yes...S. 3068 could very possibly never be adopted as such. But, as the example I just described should make clear, that is meaningless. It's not the Bill NUMBER; it's the bill CONTENT. If that content, and the policy it endeavors to establish ends up as the law of the land, no one is going to CARE what the original bill number was, or how many cosponsors it did or did not have (well, a historian of the arcane might care, I suppose, and those who want to biographical research on who associated themselves visibly with what piece of legislation at what point in time, etc.).
The process I've described is also just ONE of a number of ways legislative language finds its way into the law books. And I know of NONE in which the number of cosponsors is relevant other than in making a "splash" on introduction, or, in some cases, trying to use the strength of numbers as a lever in trying to get a bill discharged from a recalcitrant committee or to get the attention of leadership for floor consideration. But those are absolutely not ESSENTIAL to get passage of a bill. So, please, try to learn more about the broad range of possibilities within a very complex and varied process before picking on one (in this case) potentially irrelevant piece of it and make it out to be something more than it is.
Thus, the discussion in this thread, to the extent it continues to address the CONTENT of the language in S. 3068 is timely, pertinent, relevant, and I'm sure seen as helpful dialogue by those interested in seeing the CONTENT of the bill succeed eventually into law, within whatever legislative "vehicle" might be available.