How a Bill Becomes a Law

1. Every bill starts with an idea. The idea for new bills come from private citizens to the white house, or from special interest groups.

2. A Senator or Representative must introduce a bill before congress will consider it. Every bill is given a title and a number when it is submitted.

3. After a bill is introduced, it is sent to the Standing Committee that is related to the subject of the bill. The Standing Committee have life-and-death power over bills.

4. The Committee can: Pass the bill, mark up the bill with changes, and suggest that it be passed, replace the original bill with a new bill, ignore the bill and let it die (which is called "pigeonholing" the bill), or kill the bill outright by majority vote.

5. In the house, the Rules Committee sets up terms for debate. In the senate, senators can speak as long as they wish which is called a filibuster. A filibuster is a tactic for defeating a bill in the senate by talking until the bill's sponsor withdraws it. The senate can add a filibuster is 3/5 of the members vote for cloture.

6. After a bill is approved, it goes to the president. The president can sign the bill and declare it a new law, veto, or refuse to sign the bill, do nothing for 10 days, or if the congress is in session, the bill becomes a law without the president's signature.

Comment Stream