Bill To Law

By: Dominic Edwin Burke

Steps 1-3

1). Idea: Every idea starts with an idea. Ideas for new bills come from private citizens, the White House, or from special special-interest groups-organizations made up of people what common interests.

2). Introduction: Every bill is given a title and a number when it is submitted.

3). Committee: The committee can: (1). pass a bill, (2). mark up a bill with changes and suggest that a be passed, (3). replace the original bill with a new bill, (4) . ignore the bill and let it die (which is called "pigeonholing" the bill), or (5). kill the bill outright by majority vote.

Steps 4-7

4). 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 tackled onto the bill.

5). Voting: There are three ways that the House can vote. The simplest is a voice vote, in which those in favor say "Yea" and those against say "No". The speaker determines which side has the most voice votes. In a standing vote, those in favor of a bill stand to be counted, and then those against it stand to be counted. The third method is a recorded vote, in which members' votes are recorded electronically. The Senators have three methods of voting: a voice vote, a standing vote, and a roll call vote. In a roll-call vote, senators respond "Aye" or "No" as their names are called.

6).Conference Committee: A conference with members from both houses work out the differences and submit a revised bill. The House and the Senate must either accept it without amendments or completely reject it.

7). President: After a bill is approved, it goes to the president. One of four things may then happen. 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 presidents' signature. If congress has adjourned, the bill dies. Killing legislation in this way is called a pocket vote. If the president vetoes a bill, Congress has one last chance to save. Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds vote of each house. This is not an easy task, though. From 1789 through 2005, Congress overturned only 106 vetoes.

4_2 Notes "How A Bill Becomes A Law"