Bill to Law

Steps 1-3

1) Ideas for new bills can come from anyone. Private citizens, the White House, or special interest groups.


2) A senator or representative has to introduce a bill before Congress will consider it. Every bill that gets submitted is given a title and a number.


3) When a bill gets introduced, it's 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: pass the bill, mark up a bill with changes and suggest that it be passed, replace the original bill with a new bill, ignore the bill and let it die or kill the bill outright by majority vote.

Steps 4-7

4) The House floor holds house debates and votes on passage. If the bill passes, it goes to Senate for approval. If a different version passes, it goes to the conference committee. The Senate floor debates and votes on passage. If the bill passes it goes to House for approval. If a different version passes, it goes to the conference committee.


5) Conference committee works out differences and sends identical compromise bill to both chambers for final approval. House and Senate both vote on a compromise bill.


6) After a bill gets debated, it is brought to a vote. There are various types of vote; a voice vote, a standing vote, and a roll-call vote.


7) After a bill is approved it goes to the president. One of four things may happen, he can sign it and declare a new law, he can veto, he can let it die, or he can do a pocket veto.

By Aly Vermillion and Isabelle Steeley