How a Bill Becomes a Law

Maddie Mills and Kamila Kuchta (Hour 2)

Bill Proposal- Great Lakes Restoration Act of 2016

The bill is referred to the appropriate committee by the Speaker of the House or the presiding officer in the Senate

-Committees allow members of Congress to divide their work among many smaller groups in order to ease the workload of lawmakers

-Committees choose which bills will or will not have the chance to become law

-The committee system is the only practical way for Congress to operate because no lawmaker can possibly know the details of each of the bills introduced

-House and Senate members make up the committees

-Members are either appointed or elected

Steps in Committee

  1. Bills are assigned to subcommittees
  2. Subcommittees report their findings to the full committee
  3. Voting is done by the full committee
  4. Pass, Kill, Ignore, Replace, or "mark-up" the bill. ("Mark-Up"- a session to make revisions and additions)
  5. In the House, most bills go to the Rules committee before reaching the floor
  6. Floor Debate
  7. Voting (both the house and the senate must approve the bill)
  8. Presidential Action (If a bill is NOT signed by the President, his veto can be overridden by a 2/3 vote in both the Senate and The House.)

Kinds of Committees

Standing Committee

A permanent group that oversees bills that deal with certain kinds of issues.
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Voting in the Senate and the House of Representatives

First a bill must be proposed. Following, there is a first reading, a committee hearing, a debate, and then the bill is voted on. In the Senate, bills are brought to the floor when majority of the senate chooses. In the House, the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader decide if a bill will reach the floor.
The voting in the Senate and the House does not necessarily take place at the same time. If the other chamber has not voted on a similar bill, then it is passed on to that chamber before it can make it to the President.
A roll call vote is ordered, if and when the voting machine is out of order. The voting machine has two colors. The voting machine has a yea and nay button. If a member is present at the time of voting, then they vote, but a majority of members from the chamber must be present in order to have a vote.