BOY: Whew! You sure gotta climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. But I wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is? I'm just a bill / Yes, I'm only a bill / And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill. / Well, it's a long, long journey / To the capital city / It's a long, long wait / While I'm sitting in committee / But I know I'll be a law some day. / At least I hope and pray that I will, / But to- day I am still just a bill. BOY: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage. BILL: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn't even a bill, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local Congressman and he said, "You're right, there oughta be a law." Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I'll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law. I'm just a bill / Yes, I'm only a bill / And I got as far as Capitol Hill. / Well, now I'm stuck in committee / And I'll sit here and wait / While a few key Congressmen / dis- cuss and debate / Whether they should let me be a law. / How I hope and pray that they will, / But to- day I am still just a bill. BOY: Listen to those congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you? BILL: Yeah, I'm one of the lucky ones. Most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide to report on me favourably, otherwise I may die. BOY: Die? BILL: Yeah, die in committee. Oooh, but it looks like I'm gonna live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me. BOY: If they vote yes, what happens? BILL: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again. BOY: Oh no! BILL: Oh yes! I'm just a bill / Yes, I'm only a bill / And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill, / Well, then I'm off to the White House / Where I'll wait in a line / With a lot of other bills / For the president to sign. / And if he signs me, then I'll be a law. / How I hope and pray that he will, / But to- day I am still just a bill. BOY: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a law, the president can still say no? BILL: Yes, that's called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you're so old... BOY: By that time it's very unlikely that you'll become a law. It's not easy to become a law, is it? BILL: No! But how I hope and I pray that I will, / But to- day I am still just a bill. BOY: He signed you, Bill! Now you're a law! BILL: Oh yes!!! I was a bill / I started out as a bill / Who was introduced on Capitol Hill. / And I've finally sur- vived my debates / In the House and the Senate, / And the President has signed me / With a stroke of his pen, / And at the End of my long road, I find / That in the U.S. Code I'll be drawn and en- shrined / and be known as a law.
recording: Schoolhouse Rock (1975) [YouTube]
notes: Credits and official transcript [Schoolhouse Rock]
biography: Dave Frishberg obituary 18 November 2021 [New York Times]