It's how a bill becomes a law.
One day, a public interest group proposes a bill to its Senator. The bill entails that substances like meat and poultry in pet foods will be required to have FDA pre-market approval. The Senator, in agreement with the bill, prepares a draft of it and introduces it to the Senate.
After being read aloud to the Senate, the bill is given to the clerk, and the Steering Committee refers it to a legislative committee. There, the committee conducts public hearings, where they hear experts testify, and the committee debates on and amends the bill. Soon, the committee is ready to report favorably on it to the full Senate.
The bill is then brought to the floor, where it receives further debate. While many favor it, some heavily oppose it. One Senator is so angered at the bill that he decides to filibuster, reading off of random resources and books, blocking further debate.
Eventually, 60 Senators decide to end the filibuster by enacting a cloture motion, resuming debate. The bill is slightly modified: grains in pet food will also be regulated by the FDA. Once the debate ends, there is a standing vote: Senators physically stand to vote on the bill, but their names are not recorded.
The vote is 68-32; the bill passes in the Senate, but it still needs to be referred to the House of Representatives and undergo a very similar process there. Here in the House, however, the bill is dropped in the hopper and then referred by the Speaker of the House to a committee.
The House committee can't come to a consensus, and is ready to table the bill; however, with the vote of enough Representatives, they enact a discharge petition and bring it out to the floor without the committee considering it further.
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