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Peter Sperry

There is a Legislative Counsol office in both the House and Senate where a teams of nonpartisan lawyers draft bill language for Congressmen and Senators. They are some of the most skilled and dedicated public servants I have ever had the pleasure to work with. The basic process is that someone comes up with a bright idea for a new law. The Congressman or Senator will determine whether they support the idea or not and assign their personal or committee staff to flesh it out. For the purpose of brevity I’ll skip that process. Suffice it to say, if well done, the process is long, detailed and produces a document that describes what the boss wants done and more or less how the government should accomplish that goal. The lead staffer sends that document to the Legislative Counsol’s office, which translates it into legal form. Theis can often involve multiple meetings between Leg Counsol and staff to iron out detials and for the staff to learn just exactly what is contained in Section 32c of U.S.C 5.3842.15 and why this language will get the job done. Finally, leg counsol provides a bill draft full of this language. The staff brief the boss, probably for the 483rd time. The bill is introduced, voted on and the boss comes under whithering opposition fire for not having read the 300 pages of legalese that merely codify the content of the 483 briefings. If the fire is too intense, a junior staffer is sacrificed to the gods of political expediency (usually at midnight in the Rotunda) and life goes on as normal.