Cats and dogs are are leftover “stray” bills on minor subjects saved for days when the House or Senate have light floor schedules.
It is not a formal term found in legislative rule books, but rather a metaphorical phrase that has been adopted over time to describe a certain phenomenon in the legislative process.
The term “cats and dogs” is used to describe miscellaneous or unrelated amendments, provisions, or pieces of legislation that are attached to a larger, often more significant, bill.
These smaller pieces of legislation, which may not have been able to pass on their own due to lack of support or relevance, are added to the larger bill in the hopes that they will be carried through the legislative process with it.
The larger bill is often one that is expected to pass due to its importance, urgency, or broad support.
The “cats and dogs” can cover a wide range of issues, and they often have little to no connection to the main subject of the bill they are attached to.
They can be controversial or non-controversial, significant or minor, and they can pertain to any area of policy.
The common thread is that they are added to a larger bill in order to increase their chances of becoming law.
This practice is often criticized as a form of legislative maneuvering that can lead to the passage of laws that have not been thoroughly debated or scrutinized.
Critics argue that it can result in the passage of laws that would not have been able to stand on their own merits.
However, others see it as a necessary part of the legislative process, allowing for the passage of smaller, but still important, pieces of legislation that might otherwise be overlooked.
The term “cats and dogs” reflects the hodgepodge nature of these additions, much like a mix of different animals.
It’s a colorful way of describing a complex and often controversial aspect of the legislative process in Congress.