How a bill becomes a law
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.
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.
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