How a Bill Becomes a Law

The process a bill goes through to become a law

The Idea

Every bill starts with an idea. That idea can come from anyone, however only a congressman or senator introduce a bill or measure to congress. After the bill is written, then a representative or senator must get support and a sponsor for that bill. Then, a bill can be introduced anytime congress or senate is in session.
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Introduction

Then, the written bill gets dropped into the hopper, a box dedicated to pending bills. The bill gets assigned a number. The bill also gets a H.R. if introduced in the house, and a S if introduced in the senate. Then, copies of the bill is given to each Representative or Senator.
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Committee Stage

The bill is then assigned to one of the 22 committees with jurisdiction. They hear testimonies from experts and people interested to learn more about the bill. They then make the recommendation to either pass the bill along (reporting it out) , revise and release it, or lay it aside (tabling it). If it is reported out, it gets put on a calendar to schedule voting. At this time, a congressman or senator can call for the bill to be voted on quickly, limit the debate, and/or limit amendments.
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Debate

The bill must be weighed to the representatives of each state. The House of Representatives, due to size, has a time limit to debate a bill. However, the Senate does not have a time limit. The debate is used to weigh either sides of the bill and make an educated decision best for their state. Equal time is allotted to each side of debate.
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Voting

The representatives now votes on the proposed bill. The bill gets sent to the other chamber unless it has its own version of the bill. If either chamber does not pass the measure, then it dies. If the chambers both pass the same version of the bill, then it gets sent to the president. If the chambers pass different versions of the bill, then it gets sent to the conference committee.
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Conference Committee

The conference committee are from either house and work to combine the bill. If the members can reach a compromise. The revised bill is then sent to either chamber for them approve. Both chambers must approve the bill before it goes to the president.
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Presidential action

The president can veto a bill, but the it will be sent back to the chambers. To pass, it must have a majority of 2/3 vote. The bill will be passed if he does not sign it, but congress is in session for 10 days. It will not pass if the president does not sign it, and congress dismisses before 10 days.
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Schoolhouse Rock- How a Bill Becomes a Law