Are You a Policy Wonk? Here’s How to Track a Bill

Since the last election, more people are paying very close attention to the actions of our Congress. Luckily, the internet has now made it easy for anyone to look up and track legislation. For an example, let’s start with a current list of horrendous bills…

1.   HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
2.   HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3.   HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education
4.   HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5.   HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act
6.   HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7.   HR 785 National Right to Work (this one ends unions)
8.   HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9.   HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran
 
Go to www.congress.gov and type “HR 899” into the search function. The page has a number of tabs in the middle, allowing you to read the bill completely or in summary, check out where it’s been, who’s sponsoring it and if any other bills are related to it.
The co-sponsor tab is open here and you can see that it is currently only supported by Republicans. Take note if any of them are your congresspeople, so you can have a discussion with him or his staff later.
If you’d like to track the bill,right under the name at the top is a blue “Get alerts”. You need to sign in and make a password for yourself, but after that, you can track as many bills as you’d like.
We’re currently tracking the entire list.
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Some bills’ actual purpose may be hard to discern, but most are very pretty simple. Like this one. One sentence, under the “Text” tab.

 

track-bill-2

So what are the chances of this horrible bill being passed?
For this, you need to go to another site, www.govtrack.us, which is an independent entity with no relation to the government or sponsors.
There, based on a variety of factors, (https://govtracknews.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/even-better-bill-prognosis-now-with-real-probabilities/) they’ll give you the odds of the bill’s passage.
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Govtrack has given this one a 7% chance of passage, which doesn’t seem high.  However with the current crop of Tea Party GOP members in power, nothing can be taken for granted anymore. Pandora’s box is open and we must remain vigilant on a wide variety of issues.

Our best weapon to fight back is making your legislators know that you’re watching with your daily calls!

 Thanks to all that have been participating, and encouragement to those who are just dipping their toes into this murky pool. If you have questions you’d like us to try to answer, message us at www.facebook.com/indivisibleventura/.
We appreciate all of your efforts and support. Together, we are Indivisible!

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