Understanding what happens on the floor of the House or Senate can be complicated. You’ve heard about filibusters and cloture, but there are a number of other particular rules and procedures followed on the House and Senate floors that are unique to Congress. Understanding the legislative process (and not just the basic Schoolhouse Rock “I’m Just a Bill” version) can be especially helpful when doing any kind of legislative history research or following a bill through Congress. My colleague, Galen Fletcher, recently pointed me to some CRS Reports that provide a good introduction to what happens on the floors of the House and Senate.
The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor: An Introduction
The Legislative Process on the House Floor: An Introduction
If you’re not familiar with CRS Reports, they come from the Congressional Research Service, which provides analysis to members of Congress. Their reports are quite informative.