Why Congress Confuses You: Legislative Status Steps Poster, 1974

Have you ever wondered why congressional procedure confuses you so much? Don’t let it get you down: it isn’t you, it’s the Congress. The Library of Congress posted a copy of this 1974 Legislative Status Steps poster by Frank B. Ryan online in the summer of 2011, and even though their version measured over two thousand pixels wide, the fine print on the legislative process is so small that it’s illegible.

U.S. Congress Legislative Status Steps Poster: Image of the Library of Congress

Despite the ultimate illegibility of the image, it’s illustrative to follow the flow of bills between various small bodies in the House and Senate as it moves from Introductory Steps through Committee Steps, Discharge Steps, Calendar and Scheduling Steps, Floor Measure Steps, Floor Act Steps, Conference Steps and Floor Conference Steps to the Presidential and Veto Steps. The complexity of the committee and floor steps explains why most bills are stopped at these two stages.

It would be wonderfully educational if the poster could be made available in a fully legible form for Americans like you and me who enjoy earning a well-deserved civic headache. If you know of a more complete image, please share a link to it in the comments section below.

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