Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

congress

This Custom of Customs

This Custom of Customs

Customs may be a pain when you're traveling, but it's a necessary instrument the government uses to regulate trade. Your passport please? See more »

 YOU LIE: Congressman Gets Medieval on President Obama

Boy oh boy, things have gotten pretty ugly in Washington. As most of you have probably heard, many of you live as it happened, a Republican House member last night shouted "YOU LIE" at President Obama during his speech on health care reform. See more »

 Cash For Clunkers: Yet Another Testament to Congress' Ability to Write Bills With Delightful Names

Oooo, lordy, I love it when the liberals are in power. I'm about to make me a cool $4,500 from the federal government. NPR was all atwitter on the way in to work with news of the Cash for Clunkers bill that's easily made its way through the House and is poised to pass the Senate sometime in the near future. The bill gives a nearly five grand rebate to people who trade in their cars that get 18 miles or less to the gallon for a car that gets 28 miles or more per gallon. See more »

 Risking My Life to Bring You A Better Version of a Post on Internet Flaming

Yeah, man, I've been hitting the tech stuff pretty hard lately, between this post and yesterday's. Despite finding the severed head of a Jellofox on my desk this morning -- a warning, I suspect, from J-Strick and Pollette to watch my back -- I will press on. Not only will I press on, I will write about a topic that Strickland already posted on. How you like me now? At issue is a bill under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee. H.R. 1966 would make it a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison, for using electronic communication "to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person," reports Network World. You've likely guessed that the bill came out of a case in Missouri where a woman made up a fake MySpace page to humiliate a teenager after she chose to no longer be BFF with the woman's daughter. See more »

 What the heck is an earmark, anyway?

Smell that stank in the air? That porky smell means it's appropriation bill season, fiscal year '09! Yeah! The season came late this year. It didn't seem like it would come at all. Congress waited until George Bush went back to Texas to begin the task of figuring out how to fund the vast bureaucracy that is the United States government. The bill was supposed to have been passed last September, making the bill a full six months late. Why would Congress wait for Bush to leave Washington? Earmarks. George Bush became one of the first chief executives Congress believed might actually veto any spending bills with earmarks attached. And as a lame duck president when the 110th was deliberating the FY09 spending bill last September, he very well may have, as he had absolutely nothing to lose. So Congress left it for the next guy to deal with, and... See more »