From Bill To Law

By Izzy Gillespie, Ava Geiger

Step 1: Idea

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

Step 2: Introduction

A senator or representative must introduce a bill before congress will consider it.

Step 3: Committee

The bill is sent to the standing committee that is related to the subject of the bill. 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 (pigeon holing), (5) Kill the bill outright by majority rule.

Step 4: Floor of House/Senate

Bill reaches the floor of the House or Senate. The members argue their pros and cons and discuss amendments. The House accepts only amendment relevant to the bill. The Senate, however allows riders-completely unrelated amendments-to be tacked on to the bill. In the House, The Rules Committee sets the terms for debate, usually including a time limit for discussion. Senators can speak as long as they wish. At times they take advantage of this custom to filibuster, or talk a bill to death. The Senate can end a filibuster if three-fifths of the members vote for cloture. When this happens the members must stay silent.

Step 5: Voting on a Bill

A Voting in the House is done one of three ways.

(1) Voice Vote- Those in favor say ¨yes¨ and those against say ¨no¨. ( The Speaker determines which side has the most voice votes.)

(2) Standing Vote- Those in favor stand and are counted, those against stand and are counted.

(3) Recorded Vote- Members votes are recorded electronically.

The Senate has three methods also

(1) Voice Vote

(2) Standing Vote

(3) Roll Call- Senators respond ¨Are¨or ¨No¨ as their name is called.

*If either the Senate or House rejects a bill, it dies.

Step 6: When two sessions of the Same Bill are passed

A conference committee with members from both houses work out the differences and submit a revised Bill: The House & Senate must either accept it without amendment or completely reject it.

Step 7: Goes to President

(1) The president may sign the Bill & declare it a new law.

(2) The president may veto the Bill.( Congress may override with 3/4)

(3) The president does nothing for 10 day. ( If congress is in session, the bill becomes a law without the president's signature. If congress has a djourned , the bill dies.

(4) Pocket Veto- president's power to kill a bill, if congress is not in session, by not signing it for 10 days.

Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law