How a bill becomes a law

1.Idea

The idea for new bills come from private citizens,the White House,or from special-interest groups-organizations made up of people with common interests.

2.Introduction

Whatever its source,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.For example,during the first session of Congress,the fist bill introduced is called S.1 in the senate and H.R.1 in the House.

3.Committee Action

After a bill is introduced,it is sent to the standing committee that is related to the subject of the bill.Standing committees have life-and-death power over bills.The committee can (1) pass the bill (2) mark up a bill with changes and suggest that it be passed,(3) replace the original bill with a new bill.(4) ignore the bill and let it die,(5) kill the bill outright by majority vote.

4..Debating a bill

Bills approved in committee are ready for consideration by the full house or senate.When bills do reach the floor of the house or senate,the members argue their pros and cons and discuss amendments.The house accepts only amendments relevant to the bill.The senate,however, allows riders completely unrelated amendments to be tacked onto the bill.

5.Rules of debate

The rules committee sets the terms for debate.It usually puts time limits on the discussion,for example,to speed up action.The senate,because it is smaller,has fever rules.Senators can speak as long as they wish.At times they take advantage of this custom to filibuster,or talk a bill to death.One members can speak-holding the floor for hour.delaying a vote until the bills sponsor withdraws the measure.

6.Voting on a bill

After a bill is debated, it is brought to a vote.Voting in the house is done in one of three ways.The simplest is a voice vote,in which those in favor say "Yea" and those against say "No".Standing vote those in favor stand then are counted then those agianst stand.

7.Action by the President

The president may sign the bill and declare it a new law.The president may veto,or refuse to sign,the bill.The president may also do nothing for 10 days.At that point,if congress is in session,the bill becomes law without the president's signature.If the president vetoes a bill,Congress has one last chance to save it.
Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law