Introducing and Debating a Bill

Scene in the House Chamber/tiles/non-collection/L/Lawmaking_introducing_sceneinthehallofrepresentatives_2006_106_003.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Creating and passing legislation is one of the key roles of the House of Representatives. Although discussion can become lively—as seen in the Illustrated London News, just before the Civil War—the process is guided by specific rules and procedures from start to finish.

Equal Pay for Equal Work Bill/tiles/non-collection/L/Lawmaking_introducing_billtoprohibitpaydiscrimination_PN2018_02_0012_NARA.xml Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
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Not all bills make it out of committee for debate and voting and onto the House Floor. For example, Representative Winifred Stanley introduced H.R. 5056 in 1944, which aimed to end pay discrimination based on sex. “It has often been remarked that this is a ‘man’s world’,” but Stanley believed that after World War II, “it’s ‘our world,’ and this battered old universe needs . . . the best brains and ability of both men and women.” The bill was referred to the Committee on Labor, but it was never acted on. Representative Stanley’s idea finally came to fruition in 1963, when the Equal Pay Act passed.

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