Essay On British And US Political Systems

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: House, Law, England, Committee, Reading, Senate, Amendment, United States

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/13

The United States and Great Britain both have democratic forms of government, however each has their own unique system in place to pass legislation. The United States is technically a federal republic, while Great Britain is a parliamentary system, under a constitutional monarchy. As a result, each legislative body employs its own unique method in passing legislation.
Great Britain has two main houses that make up the legislative branch. They are the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In order to get legislation passed, a bill can be proposed by either house. If the bill is proposed in the House of Commons, the process begins with a formal introduction, called a “first reading.” This is where the title of the bill is read and is published for the first time to be examined in the House of Commons. After this, the second reading begins after about two weeks from the bill being introduced. The second reading is where the major debate about the overall points of the bill occurs, and various supporters and oppositions argue the bill. They then decide whether or not the complete the second reading and send it to the committee stage. The committee stage is where the bill is broken down, line by line, and the specific details are worked out. Every clause has to be agreed upon by the committee, and it can be discussed for as long as necessary. If they reach a conclusion, the bill moves on to the report stage. In the reporting stage, the entire body may speak about amendments or removals to the bill before it is subjected to the third reading. The third reading includes a short debate, amendments cannot be made, and if the bill is approved it is sent to the House of Lords.
The House of Lords employs virtually the same steps as the House of Commons. They have a first and second reading, followed by committee meetings. After this, the bill is reported on and sent to a third reading. Should the bill pass this stage, it enters the consideration of amendments stage where both houses work together to consider all the amendments each side has added. The bill goes back and forth until each house agrees to one bill. Once this occurs, the Royal Assent is enacted, and the bill takes effect. The Royal Assent is a formality, which is the Monarch’s agreement to turn to bill into law.
The US system is slightly different the British system. While there are two houses, they are the House of Representatives and the Senate. If a bill is introduced in either the House or Senate, it is immediately referred to committee. In the relevant subcommittees, the bill is debated and voted on to advance to the full standing committee. The full committee then discusses the bill farther, and decides whether or not to vote it to the floor of the House or Senate. In the House of Representatives, however, the Rules Committee intervenes and decides if there should be any special rules or regulations concerning the debate and amendment process of the bill. The House will then vote on the Rules Committee suggestions. This step does not occur in the Senate. After this, both the House and the Senate debate the bill as a large group and vote on its passage, including amendments. Once this step occurs, the House and Senate confer with each and try to reach a compromise on the different versions. Both houses must approve the compromise in order for the bill to advance. The passed bill is then sent to the President, where it can be signed into law, or vetoed. If vetoed, Congress can override it with a two-thirds majority vote.
There are a few key differences concerning the two procedures in Britain and the United States. One key difference is how the bill begins the process into legislation. In Britain, it is immediately brought up on the floor of their legislature, in the first and second readings. In the United States, the bill is brought up immediately in committee and will never make it to the floor of Congress unless passed by committee. The committee in Britain does not receive the bill until the third step. There is also no real reporting stage in the American system, as this is bypassed and just discussed on the floor of the House and Senate. Finally, the last step in becoming law is different. In Britain, should the legislative body pass a bill, it will become law due to the Royal Assent. Once the House and Commons and Lords approve a bill, the work is done. This is not true in America, where the President plays a large role in the process of a bill. The President can either approve or veto, which would send it back to Congress.
Despite these differences, the two processes are similar in the overall structure. Both Britain and the United States each have a bicameral legislative branch. They each do a lot of the bill revising in committees, and both houses must agree to pass the bill. Without cooperation from both houses of the legislature, no bills would ever get passed. There is plenty of time for debate and amendment additions in both processes. Finally, both Britain and the United States show a need for compromise between parties and houses in order to get meaningful legislation passed.

Works Cited

"Passage of a Bill." UK Parliament. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. <>.

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Essay On British And US Political Systems. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 13, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024.

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