by CIO Staff

6 Tips for Predicting What Bills Will Become Law

Jun 15, 20042 mins

1 Who introduced the bill? Bernie Sanders is a congressman from Vermont. He is an Independent. In our two-party system that means he has about as much clout as the potted plant in your office. He recently introduced a measure that would stop federal grants, loans and loan guarantees from going to companies that lay off more workers in the United States than in other countries. Don’t worry about it. It has no chance. (It did, however, generate headlines for Sanders and made his core constituency feel good about him.)

2 Did it pass the House or the Senate? Bills are far more likely to pass the Senate than the House, and just because they pass the Senate, doesn’t mean they’ll pass the House.

3 Where do the Republicans stand? Republicans have such a tight grip on the House that no bill is likely to get out of committee unless it has Republican sponsors.

4 Is it attached to a necessary piece of legislation? The only antioffshoring bill to become law, the Thomas-Voinovich provision, which prohibits certain government subcontractors from offshoring, was attached to an omnibus appropriations bill. The Dodd amendment, which would make the Thomas-Voinovich provision permanent and would extend the ban on offshoring of government work to state contracts funded with federal money, was attached to an international tax bill that had bipartisan support.

5 Is it temporary or permanent, narrow or broad? If the terms of an antioffshoring bill are temporary?say it needs to be renewed in a year, or has a clause excluding existing trading partners, or is subject to a study?it is more likely to pass, says Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonpartisan group that recently released a study of federal and state offshoring legislation.

6 Will it make the candidate or his party look good? Any bill requiring companies to invest in employee retraining has a good chance of passing before the November election. -B.W.