Legislation, Presidential & Congressional Politics/What happens to bills when Congress changes?


QUESTION: I have spent a few hours trying to find the answer to this question to no avail!  I am wondering what happens to pending bills when the 110th Congress ends. Do they "carry over" as become the business of the new Congress?  Do they all die?  Or does it depend on where they are in the process (i.e. if a Bill has passed one house but not the other, if it's still in committee, etc.)

ANSWER: Hello,

When Congress ends its session, all bill not enacted by both the House and Senate die.  Nothing carries over to the next session.  

Typically, Members of Congress or Senators simply resubmit bills that they want considered further in the next session.  But these are considered new bills.

I hope this helps!
- Mike

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: It does, thanks! One followup question- when House/Senate members resubmit an old bill that becomes a new bill, does it have to start all over again (be read, be assigned to a committee, etc.)  

I'm interested in a couple of bills right now-  one is the Education begins at home act which made it out of House committee and was put on a calendar; the senate version is still in committee.  I'm assuming that the process won't be finished by the end of this congress.  So, will the whole practice need to "start from scratch" next congress (assuming they are reintroduced).  

Sorry to keep bothering you- I just have not been able to find this info myself.

Yes, the process starts all over again.  The bill is introduced, gets submitted to committee and starts all over again.  At that point, it is up to the Committee chair to decide whether the new bill merits new hearings.  Often, if it is identical to the one considered in the previous Congress, the Committee chair will give it a brief or no hearing, and submit it back to the floor for consideration.  But if the Chair wants to redo all the hearings all over again, he/she can choose to do so.

- Mike  

Legislation, Presidential & Congressional Politics

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question about U.S. Political history, Constitutional law, the legislative process, elections, etc. I enjoy Presidential and Congressional historical trivia, but can answer more substantive questions too.


Former Staff member for a Congressman and Senator. I also worked on about 10 Congressional and Presidential campaigns (only one that won). For a short time, I worked in the legal department of the Federal Election Commission.    I have a B.A. in Political Science.

Former LBJ Fellow (paid fellowship for Congressional Staff).
Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honorary Society).

Washington Post
Washington Times

J.D. University of Michigan
B.A. George Washington University (Poli. Sci. major).

Awards and Honors
LBJ Fellow
Truman Scholar

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