“We have to pass the bill so that you find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”
Nancy Pelosi was the House Speaker when she made those remarks about Obamacare at the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties. At the time, Pelosi was mocked for not understanding what was in the legislation she was supporting. But the reality is that with all legislation that is considered by Congress, we almost never really know what is in it until it has been passed.
If you took civics class in high school (or just watched Schoolhouse Rock), you likely know how a bill becomes a law. But what most people don’t understand is the process by which a law becomes policy.
We often think that the judiciary is the branch of government responsible for interpreting the law. But in reality most interpretation is done by the executive branch, through the various regulatory agencies. Regulatory agencies handle administrative law, primarily by codifying and enforcing rules and regulations. When Congress passes a new law it usually goes to a regulatory agency to determine how the law will be put in place.