How a Bill Becomes a Law

The Steps

1. someone has an idea

2. bill introduced in Congress

  • Tax bills start in the House of Reps. b/c they are closer to the people.

3. bill given a title and number

4. sent to standing committee

  • Pass The Bill
  • Mark the bill with changes and suggest it be passed
  • Replace the bill with new bill
  • Ignore the bill and let it die—called pigeonholing
  • Kill the bill with majority vote

5. Congressional members where the bill is introduced debate.

  • Senate may attach riders
  • Rules Committee determines the terms for debate
  • Talking a bill to death is called a filibuster
  • Filibuster can end if 3/5 of members vote for cloture
  • No one may speak for more than an hour

6. Voting in Congress

  • House and Senate must pass the same bill

If not, they compromise in joint committee

  • Voice vote—yea or no
  • Standing vote
  • Roll-call vote—these are recorded

7. President

  • Can be overrode with 2/3 vote from both houses of Congress
  • Do nothing for 10 days
  • If Congress is IN session, it becomes law
  • If Congress is NOT in session, it dies—called pocket veto
  • Sign the bill into law