The signals of the American legislative process cannot be understood simply by focusing on the formal and technical processes of legislative drafting. Rather, it is important to appreciate the political and institutional dynamics which affect how and to whom signals are sent, and why some signals emerging from the legislative process are clearer than others. Legislative policymaking often does not conform to the textbook ideal of deliberation and clarity. By the way that legislation is drafted, through the use of legislative history and various materials, legislators send signals to agencies, courts, their colleagues and interest groups. How bills are drafted - tight or loose - gives institutions more or less authority to make policy. Accounting for the sometimes absence of clear direction in legislation in the American system, and the consequences of that absence for agencies and courts, raises questions in a comparative context about how the structure of government affects the signals of the legislative process.